Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Defenders against overdiagnosis

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 20 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3487

Diagnosis & Prognosis

Physicians treat sickness by probing the past and present (diagnosis), prescribing medicine or surgery, and predicting the future (prognosis). But sometimes physicians are wrong, because they’re so focused on esoteric scientific knowledge, that they ignore plain common sense by overlooking obvious questions, such as the patient’s contact with toxins and addictions, both of which are common causes of sickness. A wise physician knows that knowledge plus common sense is wisdom, but knowledge minus common sense is nonsense. 

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 July 2017
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA