A patient can withstand quite a lot of medical error

Dalrymple suspects that

if you examined the notes of 100 medical cases, you would find possible negligence in the great majority, say 90:

  • a question not asked, or if asked, the answer not recorded
  • an examination not done
  • a result disregarded
  • a possible diagnosis overlooked
  • an unnecessary and potentially dangerous prescription (as many prescriptions are)
  • a superfluous or wrong procedure performed

Most negligence, Dalrymple points out,

goes unremarked and unpunished: the human being is a tough organism and can withstand quite a lot of medical error.

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