Monday, January 14, 2013

A Patient Can Have as Many Diseases as He Damn Well Pleases

Well... I once again have dropped the ball. This time I have gone a good few months without posting much of anything. At this point, trying to fill everyone in about what has happened in the past few month would take a novel rather than a single post. So, the abbreviated version is that medical school is going really well! I have successfully completed my first semester and now I can officially say that I am one eighth of a doctor!

My schedule has been pretty hectic and trying fit everything in has definitely been a challenge. Fortunately, I like to be busy. Medical school has not let me down in that regard. I have classes everyday and right now my main class is my anatomy and physiology course. Of course, Umass feels that "anatomy and physiology"is too simple of a name so they call it "Development, Structure, and Function." Basically, this course provides the foundation of the human body and teaches us what "normal" and "healthy" structures are supposed to look like. We have to wait until next year to really start learning the hundreds of diseases and disorders that we are expected to learn for the board exams. 

What we have learned about diseases, is that patients can and will have many of them and that it is our job to sort things out. With patients that have many ailments, we are supposed to find a diagnosis that can explain all of them in one whack. For this, we use the concept of Occam's Razor, "When you hear hoof-beats think horses not zebras." That is to say, we should find the simplest and most concise diagnosis that explains everything and not try use several and far-fetched diagnoses to accomplish the same task. However, if this is not possible, then we may be required to fall back on the slightly modified Hickam's Dictum that states that, "A patient can have as many diseases as he damn well pleases."

Well I am out of time and I must go read up about the skull and the gazillion bones that go with it. 


"We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, so far as possible, assign the same causes."
-Sir Isaac Newton