Saturday, January 2, 2016

Curbstone Diagnosis Costs Nothing, Usually Worth Just as Much

I came across this article, published in the Toledo Blade in 1957. The titles refers to an off the cuff, curbside diagnosis, made by a physician with partial knowledge of the case, misdiagnosing pancreatic cancer with referred pain to the hip as arthritis.

This dated yet still very relevant article is a good reminder of the potential pitfalls of the curbside consult, a frequent occurrence in many medical centers.

Quite simply, with partial information and without a proper assessment of the patient, these consults of convenience may lead to both incorrect clinical questions and answers and may be potentially harmful. They also can be time consuming, particularly if the curbside consults are aplenty, as summarized in this journal article.

I say it over and over to our infectious diseases trainees, curbside consult only with the highest caution and be mindful of the potential pitfalls.