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Addressing serious illness with a serious question to clinicians

from Brigham and Women's Hospital via EurekAlert

Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have analyzed whether the "surprise" question, which elicits a clinician's overall clinical impressions about a patient, can help emergency clinicians identify older patients at greatest risk of death. Worded as, "Would you be surprised if this patient died in the next month?" this question was required of emergency clinicians treating patients at Maine Medical Center. Investigators found a strong correlation — if a physician or physician assistant answered that they would not be surprised, the patient was twice as likely to die in the next month. more


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