The practice of medicine is a finely balanced art. Clinical features are often very subtle, and the ground is littered with booby traps. You could say medicine is a minefield, strewn with mimics and chameleons.
This explains why diagnostic error is rife in medicine, and this is perhaps more so in neurology. Admittedly, some misdiagnoses only cause minor emotional trauma to the patient…and some embarrassment to the neurologist. Other missed diagnoses are however supremely consequential because they prevent early curative treatment, and result in death or severe disability.
Below is our list of the deadliest neurological misdiagnoses. To limit ourselves to the iconic number 7, we had to exclude many serious diseases. These are conditions where the diagnosis, even though critical, is often obvious such as stroke. We have also excluded misdiagnoses which almost uniformly lead to death, such as brain tumours and motor neurone disease (MND). Below therefore are the 7 deadly sins of neurological misdiagnosis: click on the links for their disastrous fallouts.