No real change in DX error over 9 years

Peggy Zuckerman peggyzuckerman at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 4 20:51:56 UTC 2014

I think the most important and disturbing thing, beyond the obvious central
problem, as that most patients who experience a diagnostic error may never
know that it happened.  Then there are others who just would not define
their experience as an error, despite having been treated for something

Patients must LEARN what is an error, just as they have to learn what a
drug interaction might be, before they can properly identify it.  Since the
person who is likely to understand most that an error has occurred is the
doctor who made the error, there is little chance that those errors will be
deemed as such, and in fact, that same doctor may be celebrated for having
"finally" figured it out.

Peggy Z


On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 10:58 AM, Jason Maude <
Jason.Maude at> wrote:

> No doubt you’ve seen the survey of medical error in MA carried out by the
> Betsey Lehman Center which was published a few days ago.
> Sadly the results show very little change over the last 9 years!
> Our founding charity carried out a similar survey on a national basis back
> in 2005 and the results were similar.
>    - *Percentage of people who say they had experienced a medical mistake*:
>    In the 2005 Isabel Medical Charity survey it was 35% compared to 23% in the
>    2014 Betsy Lehman Center survey. This looks better but the 2005 question
>    was whether '*you or someone you know'* experienced a medical mistake
>    whereas in 2014 the question was about being '*personally involved’ *and
>    also the Lehman question asked about ‘*preventable’ *mistakes rather
>    than just a medical mistake. I am not sure how many patients would know
>    whether it had been preventable or not. I would argue that the different
>    wording would get a significantly smaller number.
>    - *Percentage of those mistakes that were misdiagnosis*:  In 2005 the
>    figure was 50% but has risen slightly to 51% in the Lehman survey.
> This means that in 2005 17.5% of the adult population in the USA had
> directly experienced or knew somebody who had experienced a diagnostic
> error whereas in 2014 11.7% of the adult population in MA had personally
> experienced a preventable diagnostic error.
> Not much to cheer about there!
> Regards
> Jason
> Jason Maude
> Founder and CEO Isabel Healthcare
> Tel: +44 1428 644886
> Tel: +1 703 879 1890
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Peggy Zuckerman

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