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.

Related Articles


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 December 21, 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 December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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