New Book Exposes the Mistaken Medical Assumptions Doctors Often Make

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February 13, 2007 | 6,743 views

In a new book titled, "How Doctors Think," Dr. Jerome Groopman examines the thought processes and assumptions that lead to misdiagnoses.

Fifteen percent to 20 percent of medical diagnoses are wrong; half or more of these incorrect diagnoses result in serious injury or death. Over a quarter of all radiological tests, including CAT scans and MRIs, are also misread.

The book examines stories such as that of a woman who was misdiagnosed by close to 30 doctors until she finally came across one who both listened to her and asked a fresh set of questions. Dr. Groopman notes that, on average, a doctor will interrupt a patient during the first 18 seconds of a visit.

Groopman calls this problem anchoring -- quickly seizing on a particular diagnosis, and letting that judgment color all subsequent thinking. He also identifies a second problem, attribution, where stereotypes lead doctors to make bad assumptions about patients.

Groopman's own first child developed a dangerous intestinal obstruction that was misdiagnosed as a simple virus by a doctor who was convinced that Groopman was a neurotic first-time parent.

You may be very interested in reviewing these links about this new book. Dr. Jerome Groopman explains how, and how often, many of the increasing number of medical errors really occur.

Dr. Groopman ultimately attributes the root of the problem to a general lack of independent thinking among medical residents he guides on hospital rounds. Rather than reading charts, listening to a patient's concerns and observing the signs of illness, many of his young charges rely instead on cookie-cutter recipes for various health conditions preloaded on their computers.

The reasons why doctors lean so heavily on technology: A lack of time often prompts physicians to make snap decisions without getting to the real cause of the problem, part and parcel of a failed and conventional health care paradigm.

As many as 98,000 Americans each year reportedly die due to medical errors. But even that is actually just the tip of the iceberg. Clever manipulation of the official government death rates conceals the fact that the conventional medical system, not heart disease or cancer, is the leading cause of death in this country. Yet, in all fairness, physicians themselves are not the primary reason, as they are under the pernicious influence of the multi-billion-dollar marketing umbrella of the drug companies.

On Vital Votes, biochemist Russ Bianchi from Soquel, California adds:

"Let's remember folks, the vast majority of MD's in America are trained to treat, and NOT prevent.

"Virtually NONE of theses MD's have any reasonable clue about good nutrition, and accept, chapter and verse, whatever Big Pharma shovels them in treatment protocols of drugs; some good, and many very BAD, as we have seen with a long and continuing stream of drug recalls.

"Just today, 1/29/07, following on the heels of 10,000 being laid off at Pfizer last week, Cardinal Health announced it was selling off it's pharmaceutical manufacturing holdings ... the rats are leave the sinking ship.

"The consumer is just beginning to be informed on how to protect themselves from Big Pharma, through sites like, and it can only improve long term quality health for us all."

Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.

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