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A dangerous truth

Peter C Arnold
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (4): 215-216.
Published online: 19 February 2007

To the Editor: There would be few medical students who have not had drummed into them the tautological aphorism, “Common things occur commonly!” And few practising clinicians who have not come across or read about a serious adverse event arising from the actions of a colleague or nurse who thought, “It was only X, which is so common at this time of the year/around these parts/among these people. I didn’t think it was anything serious.” The patient might have been a child with meningitis sent home with a diagnosis of a winter upper respiratory tract infection or a very anxious young woman with an intracranial haemorrhage discharged with a diagnosis of tension headache.

  • Peter C Arnold

  • Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: parnold@ozemail.com.au

Acknowledgements: 

I thank Drs Irene Rotenko and John Raftos for discussing this proposition with me.

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