NHS error rate = Russian roulette

You’ve heard of Russian Roulette, the game where you put on round in a revolver, give the cylinder a quick spin, put the gun to your head and pull the trigger, made famous in The Deer Hunter? A strange little “game” — theoretically, the odds are 5 in 6 that the gammer will fall on an empty chamber — no harm.

Well, apparently, the British NHS works on a similar, if less deliberate, basis.

From the UK Telegraph:

“Doctors were making mistakes in up to 15 per cent of cases because they were too quick to judge patients’ symptoms, they said, while others were reluctant to ask more senior colleagues for help.

While in most cases the misdiagnosis did not result in the patient suffering serious harm, a sizeable number of the millions of NHS patients were likely to suffer significant health problems as a result, according to figures. It was said that the number of misdiagnoses was “just the tip of the iceberg”, with many people still reluctant to report mistakes by their doctors.

You can almost hear the “whirr” of the spinning chamber and the click (or *BANG!*) as the hammer falls.  That said, the patients, unlike Christopher Walken’s character, didn’t sign up to play this game.

Do you fancy a turn?

2 replies
  1. gillie28
    gillie28 says:

    Headline from the Daily Mail today:

    One in six NHS patients 'misdiagnosed'

    As many as one in six patients treated in NHS hospitals and GPs’ surgeries is being misdiagnosed, experts have warned.

  2. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    I believe there is a separate revolver used when waiting for care: i.e. will you get it in time to get to the next revolver?

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