The Pseudo-Error – Paradoxic Risk for Patients

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2014.0200-0206

german translation / full article

Norbert Donner-Banzhoff

Keywords: Diagnosis Diagnostic Error Defensive Medicine Myocardial Infarction Primary Health Care Family Medicine [MeSH]

Summary: Adverse events may result from an erroneous decision taken by a health professional, but often they occur after optimal management according to current standards. Especially in the area of diagnosis it is often difficult to ascertain causal relationships between medical decisions and negative outcomes. In this paper a simple heuristic is suggested to distinguish between true management error and a detrimental but random outcome. For the latter, which may still have a great impact on physicians, I would like to suggest the term pseudo-error. Based on a clinical case possible reactions to an adverse event are discussed. It becomes obvious that not all professional learning from this kind of event is in the interest of patients.

(State: 12.05.2015)

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