Clinician's Assumptions Lead to Tragic Mistake

Misdiagnosis leads to fatal emergency
Misdiagnosis leads to fatal emergency

Ms. C was a 37-year-old nurse practitioner working in an urgent-care clinic. The clinic was staffed by two physicians and three nurse practitioners, as well as office staff and several assistants. At any given time, there were at least two clinicians in the office – a physician and a nurse practitioner – and each saw a share of the patients. 


One of Ms. C's patients that evening was Mr. D, a 23-year-old graduate student, who complained of fever, chest pains, and cough. His temperature was 101°F. He said that he had been unwell for the last couple of days. 


Ms. C performed a brief examination and gave Mr. D a diagnosis of bronchitis, providing him with a prescription for an antibiotic. Ms. C told Mr. D to get some rest, start taking the antibiotic, and come back in to the clinic if he did not feel better in a couple of days. 


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This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor.

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