Have you ever wondered how often doctors misdiagnose? One on-line report that delves in to this is titled “How Common is Misdiagnosis?” and appears on WrongDiagnosis.Com. Here is one salient portion from that insightful piece:
“The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) commissioned a phone survey in 1997 to review patient opinions about medical mistakes. Of the people reporting a medical mistake (42%), 40% reported a “misdiagnosis or treatment error”, but did not separate misdiagnosis from treatment errors. Respondents also reported that their doctor failed to make an adequate diagnosis in 9% of cases, and 8% of people cited misdiagnosis as a primary causal factor in the medical mistake. Loosely interpreting these facts gives a range of 8% to 42% rate for misdiagnoses.”
I’m not here to knock doctors for being fallible. It is, after all, a “universal affliction” among our species. Of course, the consequences of physician misdiagnoses exact a toll in the sense of wrong treatments implemented and right treatments delayed or never done. Some on the receiving end of wrong diagnoses no doubt suffer terribly due to being misdiagnosed and I’m sure some wind up prematurely deceased. And while new and better diagnostic tests, equipment and software promise to help drive the rate of misdiagnosis steadily downward, it is doubtful that this will totally eliminate it. After all, making a diagnosis requires not just test results, but their interpretation by a skilled physician who draws on his education, experience and professional judgment.
To my way of thinking, one sure way for a doctor to set a course to becoming a first rate diagnostician is to spend the early part of his career in pathology, which is a medical specialty devoted to the study and diagnosis of disease. USC’s Keck School of Medicine Department of Pathology website puts it this way: ‘Pathology is a medical specialty that provides the scientific foundation for all medical practice. The pathologist works with each of the clinical specialties, using the tools of laboratory medicine to provide information essential to problem solving in clinical practice. As such, the pathologist is the “doctors’ doctor.”’
One physician who actually became a pathologist before venturing into medical practice was none other than this blog sites’ namesake and focus, Dr. David A. Steenblock.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Steenblock has an impressive track record of not just making correct medical diagnoses, but also in readily spotting misdiagnoses. As a result he has saved many patients from wasting their time and resources treating the wrong problem. I have, in fact, talked with more than a few folks who had Dr. Steenblock go through their medical records and zero in on telltale test or scan results that overturned the diagnosis they had been given, which set the stage for their being properly diagnosed and then successfully treated.
If you have been handed a diagnosis you question, take your case to a first rate diagnostician for a proverbial second opinion. If you’d like to retain Dr. Steenblock for this purpose, he is more than willing and able to lend a helping hand. To learn more visit his website or just pick up the phone and call toll free 1-800-300-1063.