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A report by: Dr. Robert L. Bard
A "False Positive" is the statistical classification in medicine referring to less appealing terms like a MISREAD, an INACCURATE OVERSIGHT or a WRONG CONCLUSION. It is essentially a flaw in the patient diagnostic report that would cascade into the clinical team pursuing an inaccurately founded plan or the wrong path of care.
My first commitment as a medical professional was in the US Air Force (1971) where I first witnessed the critical and sometimes even fatal results of 'false positive' reports and readings. Unnecessary surgical procedures were conducted and improper medications were dispensed- due to a possible misread of a scan or an inaccurate blood test. It was then that I realized the many potential types of disasters that could come from what could appear as a simple oversight- and what should be done to avoid them.
2021- the modern era of medical diagnostic advancements, and False Positives continue to happen much in the same way, due to the many 'flavors' of human error. But upon review of the "damage reports" from recent medical cases as a medical witness in a major malpractice case, it was concluded that NEGLIGENCE came from significant dependence and over-reliance on technologies to play a role in the clinicans' lack of discernment and focus.
Misdiagnoses offer their own set of problems as does the actual growth (cyst or tumor) that we are scanning for. Either human or tech errors could lead to the wrong conclusion and distracts from the real pathology. Raising alarms of mis-reads have been known to put patients (and physicians) at great risk of unnecessary surgeries, costly testing and unwarranted treatments. What’s more, a false positive drives significant attention to the wrong area, where true issues and disorders are left unattended or found late when more damage occurs.