Dr. Marvin Stone’s purpose in writing this book is to convey to anyone interested in medicine the excitement and fascination intrinsic to becoming and serving as a physician. The profession of medicine involves caring, compassion, knowledge, skill, accountability, tact, empathy, and lifelong learning. It is challenging and demanding. With all this in mind, he is addressing a broad-based audience that includes young people considering a career in medicine, medical students, physicians who have completed their training (but not their education), and the general reader who has interest in and concern about the status of medical science and health care in the United States. He hopes his perspective will be helpful to readers.
Many decisions that physicians make regarding care of their patients are dependent on multiple factors. The importance of acting, sometimes aggressively, can be crucial in affecting outcome. By contrast, some situations are better managed by refraining to act, temporarily or permanently. These decisions require judgment, which comes from knowledge and experience. Because medicine is an uncertain art and full of complexities, quandaries abound. Thus, when to act and when to refrain are key decision points in doctors’ careers.