Irretrievable time may be lost when the patient fails to recognize or report symptoms of cancer. Delays also may be classified under one of medicine's least welcome words—iatrogenic.
Out of 100 consecutive patients studied by Henry Ford Hospital's division of medical oncology, 62 had diagnostic delays of over three months after onset of symptoms.
"Physicians alone were culpable in 35 instances, patients in 13, and both in 14," Edward L. Moorhead, II, MD, told the section on general practice at the AMA's recent annual meeting.
Object of the intensive interviews, he explained, was to establish the causes and incidence of delay. It also served to illustrate where diagnostic errors and omissions are made.Each patient was asked about symptom onset, personal reactions, and results of their first visits to a practitioner. In most cases the records were checked and the practitioner interviewed. The patient's original story was proven