21 May 2012

Power of deduction

 From one of my blog posts in October 2011:
Sapira's, my favorite book on physical diagnosis, reminds the reader that a clinician's examination of a patient begins the moment he opens the door to the exam room.

An English physician, Arthur Conan Doyle, was taken by the outstanding powers of observation of one of his professors, Dr. Joseph Bell. Doyle later became an author, and Bell became the basis for Doyle's celebrated detective, Sherlock Holmes.
While wrapping up an examination of a patient, I glanced into the exam room's wastebasket. Inside were several paper towels that were dotted with blood. I asked if the blood was the patient's (it was), and what part of the body the blood was issuing from (the patient's nose). That the patient had frequent, severe nosebleeds ended up being an important finding when we crafted our treatment plan.

Perhaps "one man's trash is another man's treasure," after all.