Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Two Things They Never Taught Us in Medical School

First thing they never taught us in medical school:

When they taught us to "go where it hurts last" (ie, examining the non-painful parts of the limb or abdomen before palpating the area of discomfort) they never taught us to EXPLAIN TO THE PATIENT that we were taught to go where it hurts last. I discovered this the hard way when patients thought I was an idiot, for example, for beginning the exam in the left upper quadrant of the belly when they had specifically indicated that the pain was in the right lower quadrant.

Second thing they never taught us in medical school:

When discussing certain specific causes of an overactive thyroid gland, they never told us to WARN THE PATIENT that a certain condition was named after a doctor; a doctor with a coincidentally unfortunate name. Imagine the reaction to being told you have a Grave disease, which is what too many patients hear when we refer to Dr. Graves and his hyperthyroidism. No other condition has probably produced more unnecessary panic than this eponym.


At Fri Sep 26, 10:08:00 PM, Blogger Geohde said...


Patients need to know that "SOB" in their notes refers to their shortness of breath and not a character judgement.



At Sat Sep 27, 12:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molluscum Contagiosum likewise has a completely unwarranted scary name.

At Sat Sep 27, 07:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about "herpes gestationis," an autoimmune skin condition sparked by pregnancy that has nothing whatsoever to do with herpes simplex, or "Chlamydia pneumoniae" infection, which has nothing to do with the STD, "Chlamydia trachomatis"?

Those conditions always take an extra five to ten minutes to reassure the patient they don't have an STD.

At Sat Sep 27, 09:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy Rx's for GoLytely. That's an understatement.

At Sat Sep 27, 09:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

shut up. Just shut up.

At Sat Sep 27, 06:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crohn's disease is also an unfortunate name, esp. if you're a single female.

"Spontaneous abortion" and "habitual aborter" are also unfortunate medical terms.

Kensington MD

At Sun Sep 28, 04:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently, they never taught some of your younger colleagues to warn the patient sitting on the table that they are about to palpate the abdomen, before doing so, especially if the patient is still sitting up!

At Mon Sep 29, 12:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you don't have to explain that I am not THAT Dr. Hashimoto to the thyroiditis patient.

At Tue Sep 30, 02:56:00 PM, Blogger Doc said...

Diabetes Insipidus usually takes a while to explain.

Graves' is annoying (always remember to say it with the 's'). I'd rather have Bright Disease, or Christmas Disease (do I get presents?)
Legg-Calve-Perthes always made me want to look behind the knee.
Cock Peculiar Tumor was one I wrote down years ago in Med School (we had a British professor in derm, although he said no one used that term).

At Fri Oct 10, 06:17:00 AM, Blogger Dragonfly said...

So true. As a medical student, number 1 is particularly true, and some patients occasionally think you haven't been listening to them describe their pain.


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