Misadventures: Myths, Misinformation, Blunders, and Wrongdoing

  • Robert B. Taylor


The spectrum of medical misadventures is wide and multi-faceted. At the benign end of the continuum are the medical myths, often charming stories that cause no serious harm, such as the legend—dating to early Roman times—that oysters hold aphrodisiac properties. Next comes medical misinformation, bringing somewhat more potential for mischief, such as our long-held belief that estrogen/progestin therapy was quite safe for widespread use to treat menopausal symptoms, a notion that was soberly tempered by a series of articles published as early as 2002 (1). Medical blunders, a classic example being amputation of the wrong leg, are misadventures that cause serious harm, generally only to the single patient involved, although (as we will see) there are times in which larger groups suffer consequences. At the far end of the spectrum comes wrongdoing, instances of egregious misconduct such as when doctors use their skills against humanity and as a result damage society and the public’s confidence in the medical profession.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acute Otitis Medium Common Cold Clinical Note Corn Flake 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert B. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine School of MedicineOregon Health & Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA

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