We are in the thick of winter and URI season is upon us. Since a few of the older providers have been out for the holidays, I have been seeing their patients for same-day sick visits. It can get tedious after a morning of telling patients why I’m not giving them antibiotics. And very easily, one can fall into a “well bias” trap where you assume everyone is fine.
A few weeks ago, I missed a peritonsillar abscess in a patient. Even though I didn’t see anything unusual with her tonsils, I have to wonder if I didn’t also have a “well bias” for her also.
I am realizing that this is why family medicine can be so mentally challenging — amid all the preventive care and well visits, you are still the patient’s first point of care and you may have to find (or at least acknowledge) the needle in the haystack.
Since then, I’ve been working on staying vigilant and keeping a broad differential. A good lesson in bias recognition.
Join me as I reflect on the challenges and joys of being a family medicine resident physician through the pages of my personal journal. Please note: all opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my employer or residency program. Names and other identifiers have been altered unless pertinent to the discussion at hand.