From the BMJ Post Medical Journal Blog. Casper G. Schoemaker reflects upon a recent interaction which caused him to consider how we should think about the value of patient accounts of illness. We wonder how prevalent this perception is and how it impacts our efforts to raise awareness about benzodiazepine harm:
The education department of our academic hospital is proud to be ‘patient-centered’. Consequently, a patient was invited as the first keynote speaker at a retreat for teachers and some students. I found her story impressive and insightful; some listeners were clearly moved. I kindly asked the PhD-student sitting next to me what she thought of the speech.
“I don’t know”, she replied. “I can’t listen to patients. When they start to talk, my ears just stop working. The only thing I can think of is N=1”. She explained that in the clinical epidemiology lectures she had been taught that stories of individual patients are always biased. “If another patient had been invited, she would have told us a whole different story”. The other biomedical PhD-students nodded: they agreed.
Read The patient voice: a biased or valuable source of information? HERE