A 100% diagnosis rate via mammogram and/or pathology is an oxymoron. The NHS Blog Doctor sheds more light:

If you work in hospital medicine as either a Consultant Radiologist or a Consultant Hispto-pathologist you make a hundred decisions a day. And each and every decision is recorded and stored away for ever. Five hundred decisions a week or more. Twenty five thousand decisions a year. That is probably a million decisions in a working life time.

Make a one in a million mistake and some one may die. Make a one in thousand mistake and, over your career, a thousand people may die. Ask yourself, could you live to that standard? Could you honestly say that for every thousand decisions you make at work, not even one is wrong? And if you did have to live to that standard, how much pressure would it put you under.

Radiologist and histo-pathologists look at X-Rays and mammograms and slides of tissue biopsies and they make a few mistakes. Less than one in a thousand, less even than one in ten thousand. But they do make mistakes. Even doctors are not perfect.

Comments are moderated before they are published. Please read the comment policy.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, they all make a few mistakes, many of which can only be seen in retrospect. But, hey, any bad outcome is potentially a new BMW or Lexus for the patient’s hired whore lawyer so it can’t be all bad, no?

  • Dr John Crippen

    Mrs Crippen is a diagnostic (NOT thank goodness screening) radiologist and does a lot of breat work. She routinely puts “there is an 8% false negative rate for mammography and clinical considerations must be paramount” which seems to keep the UK lawyers at bay. But how the screening guys survive, I just don’t know. It’s a lose/lose job.

  • Anonymous

    “hey, any bad outcome is potentially a new BMW or Lexus for the patient’s hired whore lawyer “

    What do you care? The sorriest physicians in the US, like you for example, get paid whether they do a good job or not. Your Porsche is secure.

  • gasman

    Porsche? Guess again. I drive a ’94 Taurus. The doctors lot at my hospital has a lot fewer prestige cars than the administrators lot. The nurses lot is mostly filled with late model SUVs and truckasauruses.

  • Anonymous

    I drive a ’00 pickup. But if that constitutes a BMW or Lexus, I guess your Taurus qualifies as a Porsche.

  • Anonymous

    I drive a geo prizm. Don’t you love prejudging.

  • Sumer’s Radiology Site

    well mammography is an examination which has inherent limitations and NOT ALL BEST CANCERS are seen by it. There are bound to be false negatives. But the key point here is educating the patient, giving them a realistic statement and thereby eliminating false expectations..