Polite Dissent explains House, MD

Scott at Polite Dissent has an article in this edition of AMA (Virtual Mentor) Clinical pearl wherein he explains some of the House, MD diagnoses:

Clinical pearl
Virtual Mentor. 2007; 9:197-200.

In search of obscure diagnoses: House

by Scott F. Morrison, MD

House is a show about zebras.

Some time in medical school or residency, every young doctor is told: “When you hear hoof beats, look for horses, not zebras.” In other words, focus on the common causes of symptoms first, not the obscure ones.

Gregory House, MD, the specialist other doctors call when they can’t make the diagnosis, takes the opposite approach….

BZ to Scott. Polite Dissent isn’t a ‘usual’ medblog, concerning itself with comics and their medical aspects, but if you’re not checking it out you should be.


Comments

  1. Jim in Texas says:

    My wife loves “House” but I’m kind of “eh” about the program. I watch it with her since it’s only polite but it seems to me that each episode has to be a little more over the top than the last one. In addition some of the visual effects are really a bit too much for me sometimes.

    I like the House character but I sometimes look at him and expect a jaunty Bertram Wilberforce Wooster “What Ho Jeeves!” coming out of his mouth.

    Maybe that’s why he always looks so scruffy, to distance the House persona from that clean dapper Bertie persona

  2. In the situations where I have had some knowledge about the obscure, confounding diseases on House, there has been a misrepresentation of the nature of symptoms, so that the actual appearance of these symptoms is unrecognizable on the show.

    It seems much like the reasonably intelligent patients I have had, say a PhD in mathematics, who researches medical literature to try to make a diagnosis on himself. In a literary, literal sense true, but unfortunately in the way that things actually look at the bedside, bogus.

    Examples: dyskinesias, delirium, hemiballismus, dystonia. Until you’ve seen these, you can’t understand them from a written description.

  3. TheNewGuy says:

    Examples: dyskinesias, delirium, hemiballismus, dystonia. Until you’ve seen these, you can’t understand them from a written description.

    Indeed.

    I believe it was Osler who said “”He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all”

  4. I have to admit last night was the first time I’ve ever watched “House”. It’s entertaining, but I doubt I’ll watch it again. The absurdity factor is a little too high.