I shook my head as I read the article “Medial misdiagnosis: The right to treat patients unfairly” by Nikki Weingartner.
I agree with the author. Medical misdiagnosis undoubtedly exists. The problem with her article is that it raises an issue, creates critiques that are unwarranted, and then proposes no solution.
She briefly mentions the training that physicians must go through in order to get their MD degree so that they can “brandish their pride and prejudice,” and, in some cases “boast an undertone of arrogance.” Then she states that professionals who are paid, on average, $150,000 per year are paid not to find a correct diagnosis, but rather to “perform exams, assess symptoms, write prescriptions, … and, if necessary, perform surgery.”
If you want to criticize physician salaries, read this article by Mike Royko first.
And there is a saying in medicine that “surgeons heal by cutting.” You just take your tirade a little too far.
Ms. Weingartner criticizes physicians for missing a case of lymphoma when a woman complained of night sweats, then in the same paragraph, she states that lab errors “give physicians a tool to proceed with sometimes deadly consequences.” Lymphoma can’t be diagnosed without lab tests, ma’am. Which should we choose?
Then she discusses how the symptoms of TIA, panic attacks, heart attacks, cerebral aneurysms, and status migrainosis can apparently all be similar, warning that “to mistake one for another could prove fatal.”
Obviously Ms. Weingartner must have the inside track on how to be 100% accurate in diagnosing vague symptoms. You’ve blown our cover. Now everyone knows that I and most other doctors are just overpaid dimwits. So give it up. Tell me how to diagnose TIAs, panic attacks, heart attacks, cerebral aneurysms, and “status migrainosis” with 100% accuracy in each and every case. Save us from ourselves.
I agree with you on one point: Doctors can do better. But we can’t do better by being forced to see more patients in a shorter amount of time with less reimbursements.
The New York Times article you quoted has a quote from Mark McClellan: “You get what you pay for … and we ought to be paying for better quality.”
Your article makes it appear that you are one of the many people in this country who demand perfection from an inexact science.
How much are you willing to pay for it?