How can patients and doctors talk about risk?

Check out this presentation (based on other people's research) that I'm giving tomorrow at the meeting of the Mid-Atlantic branch of the Society of General Internal Medicine. The Power Point version, prettier in its Microsoft way, is here.


  1. This is interesting. One thing it doesn't address, though, is comparative risk. For instance (to use myself as an example), one of my neighbors' kids had a very bad reaction to the pertussis vaccine (pre-acellular). What is the risk of having a bad reaction, versus the risk of actually getting pertussis? Are both risks low? Is one higher than the other? [I chose to skip the vaccine, and one of my children got pertussis. But that doesn't necessarily affect what the projected risk was...]

  2. If I understand correctly, around here the precipitation forecast percentages mean how much of the area will receive rain or snow.

    I group:
    10-20% means uh-uh.
    30-40% means bring appropriate gear.
    50% and above means get to the library and check out some books and movies.