I've told this story on FR before... I'll tell it again... when I was 2 years old, my mother felt something was seriously wrong with me. She went to a doctor, who said I had the flu and sent me home. She went to the ER, who said & did the same. As this was on a naval base, my father dressed up in full officer uniform and marched to the ER with me and demanded they admit me. They finally did so--and took a spinal tap... the fluid was so cloudy, they didn't even wait for the results, they pumped me full of antibiotics and told my parents they'd know by morning whether I'd live or not... and if they'd waited one more night, I would've died.
So it was a misdiagnosis, but I don't blame the doctors, I blame people like my friend who ran to the ER for cutting her finger on an opened can lid and screamed until she saw a doctor and got a shot. Those cases make doctors quite cynical and deaf to a mother's true instinct.
posted on 12/29/2004 5:26:02 PM PST
by Nataku X
(There are no converts in Islam... only hostages.)
To: Nakatu X
Nice story, but not a misdiagnosis. Some illnesses are very hard to diagnose, including meningitis. Good studies show that bacterial meningitis in its' early stages is ABSOLUTELY INDISTINGUISHABLE clinically from a viral syndrome. So unless we as a society are prepared to spinal tap every child that presents to the doctor with a fever, the diagnosis of meningitis will continue to be difficult, and some patients will be sent home. That is the fault of the way the disease presents, the lack of sensitivity of the current tests, but NOT the doctor. I always tell the parents of a feverish child that they need to return immediately if worse, and if not better in 2 days, because of just this situation.
You have doctors and fortune tellers mixed up. We can't predict the future.
If I told you that your 2 year old child with a fever of 101 needed a spinal tap, and he has absolutely no sign of meningitis on labs or physical exam, you would want to know why. If the reason is that there is a 1 in 100,000 chance that he could have early meningitis, but a 99,000 out of a 100,000 chance that it is just a virus, you would no doubt refuse. Yet he could have it. And if I routinely press parents to allow this, the complaints would drive me out of business ["this doctor has absolutely no indication that my child has meningitis, but he subjected her to a spinal tap!"]. So no doctor can practice like that. So we tell parents the odds, and send them home. And therefore the 1 in 100,000 who really HAS meningitis is NOT a misdiagnosis; it is a delayed presentation of disease.
posted on 12/29/2004 5:47:51 PM PST
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