Dallas Ebola case

Jason Maude Jason.Maude at ISABELHEALTHCARE.COM
Wed Dec 10 10:10:08 UTC 2014

The ‘ Dallas Morning News' ran a  detailed story about the missed Ebola diagnosis which includes written answers from the admitting physician, Dr Joseph Meier, to questions from the paper

In a question about the challenges of diagnosing the first patient with Ebola, he replied:

"It can be a challenge to diagnose disease and illness. As doctors, we are trained to work from a set of differential diagnoses and seek to rule out until we hopefully reach the correct diagnosis. The more rare a disease or condition, the more likely it is that it will not be on an initial differential list. Since this first case, we have better protocols in place, but, even then, it can still be very difficult to diagnose something so rare. We do the best we can to get it right based on our training and experience."

Looks like a good reason to use diagnostic decsion support!

It still seems odd to me that all the questions are around the missing of the Ebola diagnosis but none around the ordering of a CT scan and the initial diagnosis of sinusitis for somebody with abdominal pain. Surely this adds to the overall picture of poor diagnostic decision making already shown by not asking about travel history in somebody with a fever.


Jason Maude
Founder and CEO Isabel Healthcare
Tel: +44 1428 644886
Tel: +1 703 879 1890

Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

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