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Editorials: Point and Counterpoint |

Rebuttal From Dr Courtright

Katherine Courtright, MD
Author and Funding Information

FINANCIAL/NONFINANCIAL DISCLOSURES: None declared.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Katherine Courtright, MD, Gates Bldg, 5048, 3400 Spruce St, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104


Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.


Chest. 2016;149(5):1132-1133. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.01.031
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“Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.” Sir William Osler taught that a great physician practiced the art, not just the science, of medicine. Dr Tillotson analogously reasons that statistical and scientific principles oblige the exclusion of patient variability from randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and thus the application of their results to individual patients must rely on the art of medicine. Although this scenario is true to some extent, it should not absolve the biomedical researcher from seeking to continually improve the conduct of clinical research.

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