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In Practice
Prejudice
A physician’s greatest fear is to miss a serious diagnosis that can result in a devasting outcome—an acute anterior myocardial infarction, a ruptured appendix, an early breast tumor. Nothing reminds us of our fallibility more than when a patient dies of a disease that we had dismissed or even failed to consider. Whether we miss the diagnosis for reasons of incompetence, fatigue, or lack of time, these are the patients who teach us medicine the hard way and mold our habits. Think of sepsis in a patient with a low white count and hypothermia. Double-check the post-procedure chest x-ray with a radiologist. Never ignore a new complaint of chest pain, even in a young person. 
A physician’s greatest fear is to miss a serious diagnosis that can result in a devasting outcome—an acute anterior myocardial infarction, a ruptured appendix, an early breast tumor. Nothing reminds us of our fallibility more than when a patient dies of a disease that we had dismissed or even failed to consider. Whether we miss the diagnosis for reasons of incompetence, fatigue, or lack of time, these are the patients who teach us medicine the hard way and mold our habits. Think of sepsis in a patient with a low white count and hypothermia. Double-check the post-procedure chest x-ray with a radiologist. Never ignore a new complaint of chest pain, even in a young person. 

Guang-Shing Cheng, “Prejudice,” Hastings Center Report 37, no. 5 (2007): 8-9.