Patient Stories

Patient Stories

At least one in every three people has firsthand experience with diagnostic error, accounting for the most severe patient harm in health care today. Patient stories guarantee the patient voice is heard in efforts to improve diagnostic quality and safety. 

Have you been affected by diagnostic error? Share your story with us.


Missed Stroke Diagnosis
John Michael Night's Story

At age 17, John Michael Night was a champion lacrosse player headed to college on a full athletic and academic scholarship. Two days after a lacrosse match, he developed dizziness, vertigo, vomiting, and unsteady walking. John Michael was admitted to the hospital, but a missed diagnosis would lead to devastating consequences. Read more >>

From a Small Scrape to Sepsis
Rory Staunton's Story

Rory Staunton was diving for a ball at recess one day. He got the ball but scraped his arm. That night he awoke from sleep with pain in his leg; by the morning he had a high fever and was vomiting. Nowhere along Rory’s journey did anyone act on strong indications that he might be fighting for his life. Read more >>

Hidden in Her Medical History
Lyn Behnke's Story

After a 10-mile bike, a three-mile walk, and picking dinner out of the garden, Lyn Behnke experienced nausea and a full feeling in her chest that wouldn't go away. After driving to the nearest hospital in her rural town, she was diagnosed as having a heart attack. But that was only the beginning of her diagnostic journey. Read more >>

From Darkness to Light
Lorraine Johnson's Story

Lorraine Johnson was a high-functioning attorney in the late 90s living in southern California with her husband and children when she started experiencing changes in her mood, energy level, concentration, and digestion. An avid hiker, Lorraine loved to travel to the mountains of northern California and enjoyed spending time outdoors. In 1997, this hobby and a misdiagnosis would change her life forever. Read more >>

Autopsy Revealed the Error
Lewis Blackman's Story

Lewis Blackman was a healthy 15-year-old when his family took him to the hospital for a procedure to correct a structural defect of the chest wall. While the surgery was hardly minor, Lewis's family did not appreciate that it had a risk-benefit calculus that might not be appropriate for a child with a relatively mild defect (as Lewis’s was). Read more >>

The Missing Pathology Report
Patrick Sheridan's Story

Patrick Sheridan, Global Division Manager for a software company and father of two young children, began to develop pain in his neck and shoulders. Based on the preliminary pathology report, Patrick was reassured that he had a benign tumor and that he did not need further treatment. However, critical test results revealing more about Patrick's health history never made their way into the proper hands. Read more>>


Society to Improve
Diagnosis in Medicine
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