One of the questions that kept coming to my mind as I watched the Lewis Blackman story, was why didn’t anyone second guess their diagnosis. As medical professionals we have a tendency to form anchoring biases which restrict us to specific diagnoses but I felt frustrated watching the film because Lewis’ signs and symptoms did not match the diagnoses he had been given. We should all be open to reassessing our patients and refining diagnoses in order to not make another catastrophic mistake such as this. I remember in medical school, in Barbados, our attendings would insist that we had a list of possible diagnoses for all of our patients just to ensure that we considered all likely alternative diagnoses. From that list, we would exclude unlikely diagnoses until we found the one that fit. Something like that would have saved Lewis.
One of the many useful things I learnt yesterday was about the emerging risks of giving transfusions. I’ve often consented patients in order for them to recieve blood, but never did I know that it would increase this risk of cancer relapse. This is an area which I will have to read more about.