Real Stories

Please help us by sharing your story.  No matter who you are -- doctor, patient, sister, mom, brother, nurse -- you have probably been affected deeply by either diagnostic error or have been in a situation where doctors could not figure out what is wrong.  As a doctor, you may want to share the feelings of failure when you make a misdiagnosis or as a patient share your story of frustration when you did not know what was wrong.  You are not alone.   Some of the stories we are currently following are described briefly below:

Imagine: a man who spent 20 years in prison because he was wrongfully convicted of child abuse after his girlfriend’s daughter developed bruising.  It turns out she had a genetic disease that stopped her blood from clotting that could have been detected by a simple blood test.  How could the doctors have known?  The man was only exonerated 2 decades later due to the tireless work of a team of lawyers and the knowledge of one expert doctor.

Imagine: a 10 year old boy who had a fever, was brought to the emergency room by parents who love him, was cared for by physicians who did their absolute best, and was sent home before his blood tests came back that could have saved his life.  By the time he came back to the hospital the next day, he was in septic shock and died.  The parents only learned about the blood test when it arrived in the hospital bill weeks later.

Imagine: hundreds of doctors in hundreds of hospitals seeing patients with similar symptoms.  None of them had seen the problem before.  How can they recognize a problem they have never seen?  None of them can communicate with each other.  The patients all receive thousands of dollars of lab tests and any of them die.  If the doctors knew about all the other cases, this could have been avoided.  When one of these patients was shown pictures of similar patients, even she recognized the similarity and helped solve the case.

Imagine: medical students train for 4 years and owe hundreds of thousands of dollars when they graduate.  We ask them to do an impossible task and expect them to pretend they have memorized everything in the books.  We credential them by asking them to regurgitate it on tests.  Then, when mistakes are made, we blame them as if they could possibly accomplish such a goal.  It is no wonder that physicians have the highest divorce rate, the highest suicide rate, and the highest drug abuse rate of any professions.  The burden is too high and it is not their fault.

Imagine: a nurse who had total body itching and rashes so bad she could not sleep.  She was misdiagnosed for 6 months straight by 7 doctors in a row.  She received thousands of dollars of blood tests and scans and was told she just has anxiety.  She was given prescriptions for enormous amounts of psychiatric medications that did not help.  She had to quit her job and wanted to commit suicide.  Finally, she saw a doctor who recognized the symptoms of a common parasitic infection called scabies.  A simple test in the office confirmed the diagnosis and she was cured within days using a simple topical cream.  Could this have been prevented?

There are many other stories, every day, in every town and city in the world.  Will you share your story?  

The stories you share here will be curated and posted here by the Brave New Health Foundation team.  They will not include personal details. Your personal details will be kept confidential.  If you would like us to contact you about your story, please send a personal note to [email protected]

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Brave New Health Foundation
Brave New health Foundation will raise public awareness about the problem of diagnostic errors in medicine and serve as a resource for stakeholders in this mission

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