A real Dr. House, or did this physician benefit from prior studies?

A family physician diagnoses an ependymoma from listening to a patient.

That’s an incredible diagnosis and kudos to the doctor, who wastes no time in patting himself on the back: “By the time I saw her it was very clear.”

Doug Farrago however is more skeptical, and wonders if the 5 months of prior studies, including a referral to a gastroenterologist and endoscopy, might have helped in ruling out more common reasons that can explain the symptoms.

Sensationalizing extremely rare cases may encourage doctors and patients to overreach, ordering expensive scans to find that needle in the haystack. That’s fortunate for the patient in this story. But I doubt that the “zebras first” mentality is the best approach for all doctors to take.

topics: rare, zebra

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