We’ll update this post as time allows, but: SPM board member (and my fellow kidney cancer patient) Peggy Zuckerman will be on the NBC Nightly News tonight (9/21). Look up the time for your local channel.

See also our post this month about her participation at the diagnostic errors conference, which is part of how this Nightly News item arose.

The program segment

Screen capture of Peggy Zuckerman on NBC Nightly News

Click to view the segment on the NBC site. (Peggy appears at 1:24.)

The segment is about a report released Tuesday by the National Academies of Science on errors in diagnosis. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt calls it “a staggering new report about a dangerous blind spot in our healthcare system”: wrong diagnoses. The report says

  • 1 out of 10 patient deaths are affected by a missed diagnosis. (If the diagnosis is wrong, how can the treatment possibly be right??)
  • Every year about 5% of patients get misdiagnosed

Think about that next time you see a waiting room full of 20 patients.

The segment says the report has these recommendations:

  • Changing the pay structure for doctors, to emphasize the time spent with the patient.
  • Elevating the stature of nurses, who spend the most time with patients. (Many of us feel that nurses often do a better job of listening to us when we say something’s not right.)
  • Improve communication throughout the process. (Much easier said than done; this is a big change not just in how providers spend their time each day, but in the culture of who talks to whom and why.)

Note that NBC didn’t say a thing about the role of the patient – but Peggy does, wisely citing what you as an engaged e-patient can do.

Spread the word – tell family and friends about this. Remember, this report isn’t from some anti-doctor / anti-establishment protestor; it’s from the establishment – the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. This is an alarm from within the building, telling us to be careful and speak up.

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