Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diagnostic errors 'greatest threat to patient safety in hospitals,' claims senior UK doctor

Date:
September 10, 2010
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Diagnostic errors are the most important causes of avoidable harm to patients in hospitals, warns a senior doctor in the UK.

Diagnostic errors are the most important causes of avoidable harm to patients in hospitals, warns a senior doctor online in the British Medical Journal.

Dr Gordon Caldwell, a consultant physician at Worthing Hospital in Western Sussex argues that doctors need better facilities and sufficient time to make a correct diagnosis.

When a patient is admitted to hospital, the team of doctors formulate a "working diagnosis," he explains. At this point, the diagnosis is uncertain but the patient is treated as if the working diagnosis is correct.

"If over the next few days the patient gets better, the working diagnosis is confirmed and becomes the diagnosis," he says. However, if the patient does not improve, "we think again and consider whether the working diagnosis was wrong."

He warns: "The time taken to reach the correct diagnosis may critically impact on the patient's chances of survival. Over my career, I have seen many errors in the working diagnosis causing harm and even death to patients."

Little consideration seems to have been given to how doctors make and refine the working diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient, he adds. "We must allow clinicians enough time to be careful in diagnosis, treatment planning and treatment review."

Dr Caldwell believes that the profession has failed to let our patients and society know about this very important problem.

He concludes: "We must design our working spaces and information systems to maximise doctors' ability to see, understand, and deliberate on the information needed for more precise diagnosis. We must allow clinicians enough time to be careful in diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment review. We must urgently consider how to provide rooms, time, and information for doctors to do the most difficult part of their job and the part most prone to error: the clinical thinking in making the working diagnosis and treatment plan."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gordon Caldwell. Personal View: What is the main cause of avoidable harm to patients? BMJ, 2010; 341: c4593 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c4593

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Diagnostic errors 'greatest threat to patient safety in hospitals,' claims senior UK doctor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909193404.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2010, September 10). Diagnostic errors 'greatest threat to patient safety in hospitals,' claims senior UK doctor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909193404.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Diagnostic errors 'greatest threat to patient safety in hospitals,' claims senior UK doctor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909193404.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins