Meg sent me a link to Happiness in The World (what an upbeat name for a medical blog!) and The Danger of Early Closure. She wanted to know how it pertains to psychiatry. The author writes:
Sometimes doctors gather all the clues correctly, think all the right things based on those clues, and still get it wrong. But in this case, another significant thought error contributed to the misdiagnosis: My tendency to come to early closure.
Early closure, it turns out, is a danger that lies in wait mostly for seasoned clinicians (far more commonly, at least, than for medical students and residents). Because seasoned clinicians rely more on pattern recognition to make diagnoses and often come to their conclusions rapidly, they’re at far greater risk for leaping toward those conclusions without examining all other should present (luckily for us all, this is the exception and not the rule).
At other times, however, these mistakes are made because the physician was simply in a hurry, or tired, or didn’t care enough to think through the evidence in ways he should have, saw a pattern he thought he recognized, and stopped asking the most important question a physician can ever ask: What else could this be? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*