Using conversation analysis (CA), we studied conversations between one United Kingdom-based epilepsy specialist and 13 patients with seizures in whom there was uncertainty about the diagnosis and for whom different treatment and investigational options were being considered. In line with recent communication guidance, the specialist offered some form of choice to all patients: in eight cases, a course of action was proposed, to be accepted or rejected, and in the remaining five, a "menu" of options was offered. Even when presenting a menu, the specialist sometimes conveyed his own preferences in how he described the options, and in some cases the menu was used for reasons other than offering choice (e.g., to address patient resistance). Close linguistic and, interactional analysis of clinical encounters can show why doctors may feel they are offering choices when patients report that the decision was clinician dominated. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
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