CDC’s “Rigid Checklist” Leads Doctors to Misdiagnose Atypical Cases

(p. A17) In his “memoir of illness and discovery,” Mr. Douthat tells us of his descent into a netherworld of consternation, paranoia and despair after contracting a chronic form of Lyme disease six years ago. Although he experienced physical pain that was often unbearable, he was stonewalled and scoffed at by skeptical doctors who refused to accept the existence of a long-lingering form of Lyme.

. . .

Lyme—a debilitating bacterial disease acquired from deer-tick bites—was ruled out because many of his symptoms didn’t match a rigid checklist drawn up for the ailment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This “diagnostic standardization,” Mr. Douthat writes, was “supposed to establish a consistent baseline for national case reporting, not rule out the possibility of atypical cases or constrain doctors from diagnosing them.” As a result of such inflexibility, he tells us, doctors miss “anywhere from a third to half of early Lyme cases.”

For the full review, see:

Tunku Varadarajan. “BOOKSHELF; Patient, Heal Thyself.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Oct. 14, 2021): A17.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date October 13, 2021, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; ‘The Deep Places’ Review: Patient, Heal Thyself.”)

The book under review is:

Douthat, Ross. The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery. New York: Convergent Books, 2021.

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