My most informative mistake

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 24 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:188
  1. Lampis C Stavrinou, resident in neurosurgery, University of Athens Medical School, Evangelismos General Hospital, Athens, Greece
  1. mplam{at}

    Medicine will always come down to one thing: a doctor or two puzzling out what might be wrong with a patient. Experience, common assumptions, and human nature can guide them but can just as easily lead them astray.

    One of the errors that greatly influenced my clinical practice concerned a middle aged man admitted with acute paraplegia. His symptoms had started only 12 hours before admission and included lower back pain, paralysis, and urinary retention. Clinical examination revealed leg weakness, diminished sensation below the T8 …

    View Full Text

    Log in

    Log in through your institution


    * For online subscription