- by Dr. Gary Douglas, D.C.
Every patient that walks into your office should be viewed as a person first and not as a diagnosis. After working with patients for many years I have found that a great number of patients are misdiagnosed.
Under the current medical system, doctors, nurses, lab technicians and hospital executives are not actually paid to come up with the right diagnosis. They are paid to perform tests and to do surgery and to dispense drugs. There is no bonus for curing someone and no penalty for failing, except when the mistakes rise to the level of malpractice. So even though doctors can have the best intentions, they have little economic incentive to spend time double-checking their instincts, and hospitals have little incentive to give them the tools to do so.
Joseph Britto, a former intensive-care doctor, likes to compare medicine’s attitude toward mistakes with the airline industry’s. At the insistence of pilots, who have the ultimate incentive not to mess up, airlines have studied their errors and nearly eliminated crashes. “Unlike pilots,” Dr. Britto said, “doctors don’t go down with their planes.”
When a patient with an incurable condition walks into your office and gets better, they are likely told that they must have been misdiagnosed when reexamined by their doctor. I have personally seen patients from large famous institutions get better from misdiagnosed genetic conditions that were labeled as incurable. “A lab test can be wrong and I assume every diagnosis is wrong”
Good thing we don’t treat the diagnosis that has the patient.
Good thing we treat the patient that has the diagnosis.
- Dr. Douglas