Letters The human face of improbabilities

If you’re going to Vegas, watch out for the Texas sharp shooter . . .

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8584 (Published 21 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8584
  1. S J McNulty, consultant endocrinologist1,
  2. P Williams, consultant physician1
  1. 1St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, Prescot L35 5DR, UK
  1. sid{at}doctors.org.uk

Baru calculates the odds of admitting four or more patients out of 56 with tuberculosis as up to 1 in 41 million and muses on taking this good luck to Vegas.1 The problem with retrospective data trawling is that it is subject to cognitive bias. Such biases include pareidolia (perceiving a significant pattern in vague and random stimuli) and …

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