Table 2

Summary of the case vignettes and correct evidence-based answer


For a 36-year old caretaker at a secondary school with a lateral ankle ligament rupture treated with tape for three weeks, is it safe to resume work? Yes


Can a rash on the inside of the forearm of a 43-year old production worker be caused by exposure to PVC during the production of bathroom doors? Yes


Can continuous years of work stress be the cause of a cardiac infarct in a 54-year-old bank employee with only a slightly raised cholesterol level? Yes


For a 38-year old laboratory worker with epicondylitis lateralis, does electro shock wave therapy (ESWT) produce better results in reducing complaints than conventional treatment with physiotherapy and analgesics? No


Is a 38-year old sewage worker subject to a higher risk of contracting Hepatitis A as a result of occupational exposure? No


For a 48-year old archivist with extrinsic allergic alveolitis, is it useful to investigate the archive more closely for fungal cultures as a possible cause for the lung disease? Yes


Is it safe for a 42-year old parking attendant suffering from a whiplash as a result of a car accident to return partially to work after some 10 days? Yes


Is Cognitive Behaviour Treatment more effective than other therapies for a 45-year old teacher diagnosed with burnout? Yes


Is it effectively useful to take melatonin to prevent jetlag for workers of an ICT firm travelling to Asia? Yes


For a 45-year old female teacher diagnosed with mild depression, is St. John's Wort more effective than placebo? Yes


Does a return to his physically demanding work after an operation on a lumbal hernia nuclei pulposi in a 45-year-old carpenter, six weeks after the operation, give a higher risk of a recurrence than returning to only light work? No


Can a 42-year old male nurse, working on the ambulances safely return to full time work three weeks after his inguinal hernia operation? Yes

Schaafsma et al. BMC Health Services Research 2005 5:59   doi:10.1186/1472-6963-5-59

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