How Well Do We Understand Probabilities In Medicine?
Time to read: 2 minutes
In his bestselling book, Fooled by Randomness (which was named one of the smartest books of all time by Fortune magazine), Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses a question that was posed to a group of medical doctors.
A test of a disease presents a rate of 5% false positives. The disease strikes 1/1000 of the population. People are tested at random, regardless of whether they are suspected of having the disease. A patient’s test is positive. What is the probability of the patient being stricken with the disease?
Most doctors answered 95%. Less than one in 5 professionals answered the question correctly.