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Tips for writing a medical case study

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Tips for writing a case report for the novice author

It usually falls to the junior to write up the case, so here are a few simple tips to get you started. First steps Begin by sitting down with your medical team to discuss the interesting aspects of the case and the learning points to highlight.

Ideally, a registrar or middle grade will mentor you and give you guidance. Another junior doctor or medical student may also be keen to be involved. Allocate jobs to split the workload, set a deadline and work timeframe, and discuss the order in which the authors will be listed.

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All listed authors should contribute substantially, with the person doing most of the work put first and the guarantor usually the most senior team member at the end. Getting consent Gain permission and written consent to write up the case from the patient or parents, if your patient is a child, and keep a copy because you will need it later for submission to journals.

  • This article has been cited by other articles in PMC;
  • Coming up with a title Discuss a title with your supervisor and other members of the team, as this provides the focus for your article;
  • In the hierarchy of evidence-based medicine, randomized controlled trials are placed at the top, superseded by systematic reviews and meta-analyses, followed by prospective experimental trials, then observational studies, case—control studies, and case series at the bottom.

Remember to anonymise the data according to your local hospital policy. Get input on the case from all members of the team, highlighting their involvement.

Introduction

Also include the prognosis of the patient, if known, as the reader will want to know the outcome. Coming up with a title Discuss a title with your supervisor and other members of the team, as this provides the focus for your article. The title should be concise and interesting but should also enable people to find it in medical literature search engines. Also think about how you will present your case study—for example, a poster presentation or scientific paper—and consider potential journals or conferences, as you may need to write in a particular style or format.

If you are struggling, seek the opinion of a specialist who may know of relevant articles or texts. Another good resource is your hospital library, where staff are often more than happy to help with literature searches.

How your case is different Move on to explore how the case presented differently to the admitting team.

  1. This article discusses the essential components of a case report, with the aim of providing guidelines and tips to novice authors to improve their writing skills.
  2. First steps Begin by sitting down with your medical team to discuss the interesting aspects of the case and the learning points to highlight. This can be harder than writing the full article and needs special care as it will be used to judge whether your case is accepted for presentation or publication.
  3. All listed authors should contribute substantially, with the person doing most of the work put first and the guarantor usually the most senior team member at the end.

Alternatively, if your report is focused on management, explore the difficulties the team came across and alternative options for treatment. Conclusion Finish by explaining why your case report adds to the medical literature and highlight any learning points.

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Writing an abstract The abstract should be no longer than 100-200 words and should highlight all your key points concisely. This can be harder than writing the full article and needs special care as it will be used to judge whether your case is accepted for presentation or publication.

What next Discuss with your supervisor or team about options for presenting or publishing your case report. At the very least, you should present your article locally within a departmental or team meeting or at a hospital grand round.

  1. The case report as a source of new knowledge refers to visualization of a new manifestation or finding, or clearer demonstration of a known feature of a disease, using a new imaging technology or an imaging method.
  2. Getting consent Gain permission and written consent to write up the case from the patient or parents, if your patient is a child, and keep a copy because you will need it later for submission to journals.
  3. Another good resource is your hospital library, where staff are often more than happy to help with literature searches. This can be harder than writing the full article and needs special care as it will be used to judge whether your case is accepted for presentation or publication.
  4. Get input on the case from all members of the team, highlighting their involvement.
  5. Also include the prognosis of the patient, if known, as the reader will want to know the outcome. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.