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Free Content Revisiting the death of Eleanor Roosevelt: was the diagnosis of tuberculosis missed? [Unresolved Issues]

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Controversy has surrounded the death of Eleanor Roosevelt in 1962. There has been a persistent sense that doctors missed the diagnosis of miliary tuberculosis, thereby jeopardizing her life. This article, using Roosevelt's medical chart and other previously unreviewed documents, revisits her illness and death. What disease actually killed Eleanor Roosevelt? Did her physicians miss the diagnosis? These questions are of particular importance in light of the recent Institute of Medicine report estimating that almost 100000 Americans die each year from medical mistakes. Why has the possibility of error clouded the care of Roosevelt for almost 40 years? What can Roosevelt's case reveal about ongoing efforts to reduce mistakes in clinical practice?
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Keywords: famous persons; history of medicine; twentieth century; medical errors; tuberculosis; miliary

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA

Publication date: 2001-12-01

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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