Expecting perfection

From Pathway, Spring 2007.
One of the most spectacular errors in pathology history might indirectly be credited with claiming nearly 20 million lives. It’s even more astounding to learn that the pathologist behind it was in fact the founding father of histopathology, Rudolph Virchow.
Virchow failed to diagnose German Emperor Friedrich III’s laryngeal cancer until it was too late. The politically moderate and liberal Friedrich died in 1888 after ruling for just 99 days, and his militaristic son Wilhelm II inherited the throne, setting Europe on the path to the slaughter of World War I.
To err is human, even if you do happen to be a world expert in the field. And at its heart, pathology is a very human practice, says Dr Stewart Bryant, President of the RCPA. Read more (pdf file, page 32)

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