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Working Paper

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It is not unusual for patients and their families when confronted with difficult medical choices to ask their physicians for advice This paper outlines the shades of meaning of two questions frequently put to physicians What should I do and What would you do It is argued that these are not questions about objective matters of fact Hence any response to such questions requires an understanding appreciation and disclosure of the personal context and values that inform the recommendation A framework for considering and articulating a response to these questions is suggested using as a heuristic the phrasing If I were youIf it were me