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Case Reports

How to write a case report

Case reports, which are one of the oldest form of medical literature are by and large becoming a lost art.   Considered observational, and low-level evidence in a time of ‘pay-for-performance,’ CMS guidelines and ‘evidence-based practice,’  the utility and educational nature of case reports is often overlooked.  To many in the medical publishing industry, as the meta-analysis dominates the scientific landscape, the traditional case report is rapidly becoming a thing of the past (Kasim et. al. 2009).

However, to the practitioners, the case report remains an invaluable tool.  These anecdotal stories stay with us, and may facilitate recognition of signs and symptoms that would otherwise go unnoticed, particularly by junior medical providers.  Also the case report is often the first entry into a career punctuated with scholarly writing.

As such, in honor of the historical, humble case report, we have dedicated this post to providing assistance in authoring high quality case reports.  Below are a list of resources to help get you started in your case report writing efforts.

Many readers have also noticed that here at Cirugia de Torax, we have our own section for Case Reports – a practice area, if you will, for budding writers, and others to present cases as we polish our writing skills, and a forum to share information with the thoracic community in a more relaxed and informal way.  So collect your films and stories and send them our way.

References/ Resources

On-line course on writing case reports: Family & Community Medicine Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Carleton H. A., Webb M. L. (2012).  The case report in context. Yale J Biol Med. 2012 Mar;85(1):93-6. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Green, B. N. & Johnson, C. D. (2006).  How to write a case report for publication. J Chiro Med Summer 2006, 5(2) 72-82.  Another article on case report writing from these authors is available here.

McCarthy, L. H. & Reilly, K. E. H. (2000).  How to write a case report.  Family Medicine, 2000, March, 190 – 196.

Peh, W.C. & Ng, K. H. (2010). Writing a case report. Singapore Med J. 2010 Jan;51(1):10-3; quiz 14.

Yitschaky O, Yitschaky M, Zadik Y. (2011). Case report on trial: Do you, Doctor, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?  J Med Case Reports. 2011 May 13;5:179.

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About K Eckland

World of Thoracic Surgery is a blog about the work, research, and practices of thoracic surgeons around the world. It includes case studies, [sometimes] dry research, interviews with thoracic surgeons along with patient perspectives, and feedback.

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