Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Medical Mysteries that solved other baffling cases - The Washington Post

"I hope this helps someone else."

I hear that every time I write about a patient's often tortuous and usually prolonged journey through the medical system, featured each month in The Post's "Medical Mysteries" column.

I began writing the column in 2007 with twin goals: to explain the surprising complexity of medical diagnosis and to document the impact on patients and families when the process goes awry. Most stories are told from the perspective of a patient or close relative, while others reflect the viewpoint of the doctor or health-care worker who figured out what was wrong after others — sometimes many others — failed.

So how often does this desire to help others actually pan out? While there is obviously no way to measure the ripple effect, sometimes I learn about successes as dramatic as the original cases that served as the catalyst.