Majority of pediatricians admit diagnostic errors

June 21, 2010

Is it a viral or bacterial infection? Pediatricians say that's the most common diagnostic error they make.

Other common missed or mistaken diagnoses include those involving medication side effects, psychiatric disorders, appendicitis, asthma and ear infections.

Researchers reporting in the journal Pediatrics surveyed more than 700 pediatricians and trainees. Nearly half said that once or twice a year those misdiagnoses were significant enough to cause harm.

To reduce errors, physicians said closer follow-up of patients, improved teamwork, and more time spent with patients during appointments would help.

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