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News » Girls misdiagnosis leads to development of computer system to assist doctors in diagnosing patients

Girls misdiagnosis leads to development of computer system to assist doctors in diagnosing patients

A three-and-a-half year old girl developed chicken pox. The disease followed the normal initial course but then her symptoms persisted and she developed a fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors told the parents that it was simply chicken pox and it was a normal progression. The parents eventually took her to the emergency room where her condition continued to deteriorate. She was very dehydrated and attempts were made to take her blood pressure reading. She then went into multiple organ failure due to a secondary infection. The girl was taken to another hospital where she stayed for two months while recovering from toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fascitis (flesh-eating bug). She eventually made a full recovery but the parents were extremely upset that the doctors did not correctly diagnose her from the start. The parents then went on to develop a unique tool in order to prevent misdiagnosis in other patients. Basically, it is a computer program that assists doctors in following a progressive line of questioning to determine what the condition could be. It helps doctors make a more informed diagnosis. Hospitals who have used the system (Isabel Healthcare Ltd) have found it an invaluable tool especially when patients present with unusual or rare conditions. The program takes away the laborious task of poring through text books. The doctor simply keys in a range of symptoms and the computer generates the possible conditions that may have caused them. Currently, 7 hospitals in the UK, 4 in the US and one in India use the system.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by BBC News

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About: Girls misdiagnosis leads to development of computer system to assist doctors in diagnosing patients

Date: 18 January 2005

Source: BBC News

Author: Jane Elliott


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