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December 1995

The Undoing of a Diagnosis: The Effect of a Misdiagnosis of a Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Child Health, University of Missouri, School of Medicine, Columbia.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(12):1341-1344. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170250047007

Eighteen children who had been diagnosed as having cystic fibrosis (CF) in earlier years were found to be normal and have been inappropriately diagnosed. Removal of the diagnosis from the child involved a movement through stages in the family from disbelief to anger before comfortable acceptance of normalcy in their child. Diagnosis of a chronic disease involves complex alterations in perception of self and family. The long-range effects of such an improper diagnosis may influence behavior and development.

Editor's Note: Because we physicians have MD and not M Deity after our names, we sometimes make mistakes. This article provides valuable information on what might be unexpected responses to good news. Go figure. Catherine D. De Angelis, MD

The diagnosis of a chronic disease is a complex and major event for an individual. It requires not only as much accuracy in the diagnostic criteria as possible, but also effective and sensitive

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