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Ethik Med 1990; 2:56-67
Ethik in der Medizin
Diagnostic abundance: suffering from pictures

[Überdiagnostik – Leiden durch Bilder]

Praetorius F

Medizinische Klinik I, Staedtische Kliniken Offenbach am Main


The increasing frequency of diagnostic (espec. imaging) methods seems to exceed the economic possibilities of the medical system. The cost factor forces medical ethics: we are beginning to recognize the aggressive character of diagnostic high technology, not only on the patient but also on doctor's mind. Thus, the field of medical ethics cannot be separated from the methodology of scientific medicine. A discussion of the "Theory of Human Medicine" by v. Uexküll and Wesiack (1988) reveals the lack of a generally accepted epistemology as well as of basic philosophy in modern medicine. For the time being, as a new basis there remains only the contrasting practical experience of a small but increasing group of younger physicians, who are not in a fixed dependency of one of the two parties in medicine (representing the psychophysical problem). They may produce a new way, with multiple and recurring interactions between the different levels rather than either "dualistic" or with a new but indifferent theory of wholeness.

Key words
Medical ethics - Epistemology - Diagnostic technology - Imaging -BAYES' Theorem - Psycho-physical dualism.
Correspondence and offprint requests to Dr. Frank Praetorius