Statistical Error - 1 of 70%

Bob Gorman bgorman at KNCELL.ORG
Thu Sep 24 18:42:39 UTC 2015

This is a whole class of errors that have been overlooked in our 
classification systems. It may well be the first of the missing 
70% of unexplainable errors.

What is a Statistical Error?
It is an error in prescribing and sometimes diagnosis that 
occurs because the Dr. in charge assumes the Individual in front 
of them represents the statistical group they have been 
assigned, when in fact that Individual is so far different from 
the norm of the group, as to cause adverse effects from minor 
annoyance to death. I personally almost died twice from this 
type of error and severely impacted for over a year and a half 
of my life.

Why it's so profound and also hidden:
Recognizing the error is difficult, like a fish recognizing the 
nature of water.

Statistics is about groups even tho the only people that we 
treat is always Individuals.
The basic assumption, tho hidden, is that all members of a 
particular group are identical. This may be true for atoms & 
molecules, and even commercial products like nut, bolts and 
paper clips, but it is distinctly NOT true of Individual humans. 
from  a practical point of view, Humans are far more different 
than they are the same.

Specific examples:
1. I am a member of the select group Afib, those who at some 
time, perhaps more than once, had an irregular heart beat. 
Whether we've had this irregular heart beat only 2-3 times in 4 
years (my case) & recovered entirely by myself or 2-3 time a 
week and need immediate intervention we're all treated the same, 
leading to statistical errors.
The biggest, almost obsessional passion of cardiologists 
treating this is their fear of blood clots. As a result, I was 
prescribed Coumadin (a rat poison), aspirin, & Pradaxa. The 
result: I was rushed by ambulance twice, to the hospital,near 
death, for internal bleeding. Fortunately, I seem rather 
resistant to dying.

1b. A secondary effect happened. Terribly annoying but not life 
threatening. I was in a re-hab facility where all medical 
decisions were made by Md's & PA's. None of them were 
cardiologists but heard the common rumors about the dangers of 
water accumulating around the heart. So, even tho all of the 
nurses & LNA's said I was dehydrated, & I was was on a water 
pill, Torsemide, the medical staff put me on limited fluid 
intake. I was denied water, orange juice, etc.

2. Simvastatin mis-prescribed. I'll cover this later if anyone 
is interested.


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

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