Medicine

For content related to the science and practice of medicine

Opa and the magic certificate

The call came just after breakfast on a Saturday.  A patient of one of my partners was hoping I could do him and his employer, Bates College, a favor and see a woman who was not a patient in our practice. She was visiting from out of town to see her grand nephew graduate on Sunday but had taken ill, and was reluctant to visit the ED. 

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Magical thinking, and the persistent ear infection

She was spitting mad....

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Magical thinking and the persistent ear infection

Over the years, experienced clinicians develop a sensitive and largely unconscious radar that supplements their cognitive analysis of patients. From the moment we enter the room, we are processing multiple subtle and seemingly irrelevant clues: how sick does she look, how nervous, how is he dressed, does he make eye contact, is he alone or accompanied, what is her mood?  Mostly we let this intuition work undisturbed, drawing on it selectively when we want - or on those occasions when it speaks up unbidden - but walking into the exam room to see Ms.

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