MBBS Curriculum 2020

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    Placebo-Controlled Surgical Trials
    1 October 2015 - 18:30-20:00

    Lecture: David Beard, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford
    Comment: David Papineau, Professor of Philosophy, King’s College London

    K2.31, King’s Building, Strand, King’s College London

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    Lies, Damn’d Lies, and Statistics: Is it possible to communicate cancer risk accurately?
    15 October 2015 - 18:30-20:00

    Lecture: Steve John, Lecturer, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
    Comment: Deborah Ruddy, Consultant in Clinical Genetics, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital

    Henriette Raphael House, Function Room, Guy’s Campus

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    The fact that different ways of presenting the same risk information can have very different effects on patients’ choices raises an ethical challenge: how, if at all, should medical professionals use such “perlocutionary knowledge”? In this paper, I suggest that reflection on the nature of risk estimates poses an even harder problem: which reference classes should physicians use to calculate patients’ risks in the first place? I then sketch one answer to this challenge, based on an account of rational gambling. Unfortunately, this answer seems to conflict with much current medical practice. In the final part of the paper, I try to justify current practice. I conclude with some remarks on the implications of my argument both for clinical ethics and for the philosophy of science.

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    Annual Sowerby Lecture -- All Welcome
    26 November 2015 - 18:30-20:00

    “If I had to live like you, I think I’d kill myself”: Explaining the Disability Paradox

    Lecture: Havi Carel, Professor of Philosophy, University of Bristol
    Comment: Brian Hurwitz, Professor of Medicine and the Arts, King’s College London
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    The ‘disability paradox’ identifies a significant difference in how ill and disabled people rate their wellbeing, compared with healthy people asked to imagine how happy they would be if they were unwell. Ill and disabled people’s wellbeing rating is only slightly lower than that of healthy people. However, healthy people rate their hypothetical wellbeing as much lower when asked to imagine themselves as ‘hypothetical patients’. There are three possible explanations: either patients misreport their wellbeing due to adaptation, or healthy people mis-imagine ill-health, or both.


    In this paper I examine these explanations and suggest that it is healthy people who misimagine ill-health. I also claim that it is impossible to claim that ill people are misreporting their wellbeing due to adaptaion without this having general consequences for any subjective wellbeing measurements. I also claim that the phenomenon of adaptation to illness raises important questions for health economics, and that the psycho-social mechanisms involved in adaptation can be illuminated by a phenomenological analysis.

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