Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One of the many ways med school irritates me

Medical schools really want to humanize the patients to their students. One method my school has adopted is including a photo of the patient to go with each case we get in PBL.

(PBL is problem-based learning. Each session we get a new patient case where the information is presented to us as if the patient came to see the doctor. I'm sure I'll rant talk about PBL a lot this year so you should remember this.)

I generally like the photos when they fit the description of the patient because they help me remember the patient's symptoms and their diagnosis. But many photos do not fit the description of the patient. One common problem is that the photo does not fit the description of the patient. For example, the woman in this case is 5'3" and weighs 157 lbs.

This is the photo:

This woman does not weigh 157 lbs! Even if you're a smartass and tell me that people with large muscle mass weight more, blah blah blah, this woman does not look like a bodybuilder. She probably weighs 110 lbs.

It annoys me so much that this is such a simple thing but the school can't get it right! I'm pretty sure it's not that hard to find on flickr a photo of a woman who is 5'3" weighs closer to 157 lbs. Whoever is finding these photos is doing a terrible job of making these patient cases more realistic. This defeats the purpose of including photos!

Friday, November 11, 2011

8-year-old African American...


A fellow classmate would blurt this out every time an clinical vignette featured an African-American patient. It become a joke that if there was a sick African-American man, woman, or child, that person had sickle cell disease before we even got to his or her symptoms. Every time we learn about diseases with an ethnic predisposition, sickle cell disease is always the prime example. While it is a fact that sickle cell trait and disease is more prevalent in people of African descent, it's troubling that sickle cell disease and thalassemia seem to be the only two diseases that people of African descent according to clinical vignettes we get in medical school. Caucasian patients are the default in most other clinical scenarios.

Oh every Jewish baby has Tay-Sachs.