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Death or Disability?The 'Carmentis Machine' and decision-making for critically ill children$
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Dominic Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669431

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669431.001.0001

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Sources of Uncertainty—Prognostic Research

Sources of Uncertainty—Prognostic Research

(p.162) 5 Sources of Uncertainty—Prognostic Research
Death or Disability?

Dominic Wilkinson

Oxford University Press

There are a number of different factors that contribute to uncertainty in prognosis. This chapter looks at the science of prognosis, and the example of birth asphyxia. In practice, one substantial contributor to uncertainty in prognosis is the way in which research into prognosis has been performed and reported. Self-fulfilling prophecies are a serious problem for prognostic studies. There are a number of ways in which prognostic research studies could and should be modified. This chapter also looks at research into the quality of life of children with disability. Studies have mostly been undertaken in ways that make it hard to apply predictions of quality of life to particular patients. This may be improved in future research; however, the hardest problem is likely to remain. Those patients where assessments of quality of life are potentially the most important are also the ones where it is the most difficult.

Keywords:   uncertainty, prognosis, predictions, self-fulfilling prophecy, quality of life, disability, research

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