UNCERTAINTY -- WHICH DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT?
We can never know simultaneously the velocity and position of a subatomic particle.
-- Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty, quoted from Kaku, 1994, 114
Such is the dilemma that we face in terms of understanding the basic elements of the physical world; they are predicated on uncertainty. Although we can precisely predict how many electrons will scatter when moving through a screen, we can never know which particular electron will scatter in which direction. Although quantum effects do not appear to apply to the macro physical realm, there is inherent uncertainty at this level as well.
We now turn to a closer examination of how the physicians I interviewed assessed their work. They do not constitute a representative sample of sued physicians--my sample contains a higher proportion of physicians who lost their cases involving improper performance compared to the population of sued physicians--but these cases clearly involve less serious complications. Thus, these are much less horrific than those typically found in the news media. The views of the physicians differ markedly from those of the claimants, who I will save for the next chapter. My focus here is on the medical treatment box from Figure 1.1