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The skill with which a ward visit enumerates a lengthy, if at times irrelevant, list of possible diagnoses in analyzing a case is unfortunately almost as important in earnings a student's respect as being right. Lengthy differentials in a student's discussion are often more highly regarded than concise practical assessments and plans, or accuracy in obtaining clinical data. Clearly the business of differential diagnosis is overblown in importance. Still, it is a significant part of the analysis of clinical problems and worthy of substantial thought.
Several textbooks address the subject. French's is the oldest and most comprehensive. It first appeared
French's Index of Differential Diagnosis.. Ann Intern Med. ;92:575. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-92-4-575_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1980;92(4):575.
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