The Deadly Dinner Party & Other Medical Detective Stories

The Deadly Dinner Party & Other Medical Detective Stories

Book - 2009
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Some think that the work of a physician is like that of a scientist--based on careful observation leading to a hypothesis that is then tested to determine its veracity. The job of an emergency room physician, however, is more like that of a detective than a scientist. As an ER physician, Edlow (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) does a lot of sleuthing: working back from symptom clues to determine a diagnosis. He exemplifies this methodology in the form of medical mystery thrillers in this new collection of 15 true stories. It reminds readers that many known clinical entities started out as a vague class of symptoms; an example is Lyme disease, which Edlow has also written about (in Bull's-Eye: Unraveling the Medical Mystery of Lyme Disease, CH, Jan'04, 41-2836). The genre of the medical detective story was established through the prolific work of Berton Roueche, to whom Edlow pays homage. It is presently found in television form in the popular series House. Edlow presents cases of mass food poisoning, lung cancer, hyperthyroidism, and more, under fun titles (e.g., "The Case of the Overly Hot Honeymoon") and in an engaging narrative full of twists and turns. It is an entertaining read. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers. M.M. Gillis University of Nevada School of Medicine.
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, ©2009
ISBN: 9780300125580
0300125585
Branch Call Number: 616.075 E239d 2009
Characteristics: xiii, 245 pages ; 24 cm

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nftaussig Jun 17, 2012

Jonathan A. Edlow, a professor at Harvard Medical School who specializes in emergency medicine, presents fifteen case studies in which doctors are presented with symptoms whose cause is difficult to diagnose. In each case study, Edlow explains the steps the attending physicians and epidemiologists take to make the diagnosis; the possible diagnoses that the physicians consider, and why some of the possible diagnoses can be excluded; and how the case was resolved. Some of these discussions also touch on the history of medicine. The cases address several medical issues, including food poisoning, tick bites, workplace hazards, and the dangers of unregulated dietary supplements. The focus of the case studies is not so much the diagnoses themselves, but the process through which those diagnoses are made. While Edlow's explanation of the potential diagnoses are fascinating, the resolution of the case under consideration sometimes seems like an afterthought.

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