Tag Archives: anchoring bias

Seven ways to misdiagnose a heart attack

9 May

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I’ve had a keen – some might say obsessive – interest in the subject of medical misdiagnosis ever since a man with the letters M.D. after his name sent me home from the Emergency Department in mid-heart attack. I had just been misdiagnosed with acid reflux – despite presenting with textbook cardiac symptoms.

These included crushing central chest pain, nausea, sweating, and pain radiating down my left arm. How can modern medicine still be making such potentially deadly misdiagnoses like this? Continue reading

The ’18 Second Rule’: why your doctor missed your heart disease diagnosis

27 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

The trouble with Dr. Jerome Groopman‘s book, How Doctors Think, is that the docs who really need it won’t read it.  But patients will, thanks to word-of-mouth buzz since it was published in 2007.

As a patient who has experienced a life-threatening misdiagnosis while having a heart attack, my own favourite part of the book is Dr. Groopman’s review of physicians who take cognitive shortcuts during patient visits.

This means that doctors can jump to conclusions about diagnosis or treatment options, and then can’t budge even when contradictory evidence subsequently emerges. “Blame the 18 Second Rule!” advises Dr. Groopman, professor of medicine at Harvard.

“That’s the average time it takes a doctor to interrupt you as you’re describing your symptoms. By that point, he/she has in mind what the answer is, and that answer is probably right about 80% of the time.”     Continue reading