In an era of systematic clinical research, medicine still requires the vignette, as explored in this opinion piece. The multiple comments are interesting as well, many with strong opinions which provide illumination into why patient stories are (still) so important and how they fit with a sound scientific approach to better treatment:
In addition to reminding us of the real and human part of practicing medicine, stories are great hypothesis generators. Evidence-based medicine is important, but no real evidence can be generated until a testable hypothesis is created. This is where vignettes play an important role. When we see an outcome, especially if it’s unexpected, it forces us to ask questions, which in turn lead to hypotheses.