Errors in medicine

Improving Diagnosis in Health Care
Erin P. Balogh, Bryan T. Miller, and John R. Ball, Editors;
Committee on Diagnostic Error in Health Care;
Board on Health Care Services;
Institute of Medicine;
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
National Acadamies Press, 2015-09-22

Getting the right diagnosis is central to health care -- it provides an explanation of a patient's health problem and informs all subsequent health care decisions. The diagnostic process is a complex, collaborative activity that involves clinical reasoning and information gathering to determine a patient's health problem. According to Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, diagnostic errors -- inaccurate or delayed diagnoses -- persist throughout all settings of care and continue to harm an unacceptable number of patients. It is likely that most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, sometimes with devastating consequences. Diagnostic errors can lead to negative health outcomes, psychological distress, and financial costs. If a diagnostic error occurs, inappropriate or unnecessary treatment may be given to a patient or appropriate (and potentially lifesaving) treatment may be withheld or delayed.

Most Americans will get a wrong or late diagnosis at least once in their lives
By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post, 2015-09-23

[A Washington Post article summarizing the above book.]