Channeling my inner layperson

02/02/2009 at 12:51 PM Leave a comment

Everyday I have to work at keeping the ever smaller presence of my inner layperson. There was a time when I knew little of medicine, either the medical aspects or the practice of it. I am a first generation doctor, with parents that did not make it through high school.  Yet after two and a half decades in the field, I forget what it was like.

The question that prompted this reverie was whether bronchitis  was contagious.  It took me aback, of course it is contagious. But then I reflected that there was really no reason this young lady would know that. Or that the -itis ending nearly always implies infection ( there are always exceptions *) and therefore contagiousness. So I took a moment to explain this. I enjoy educating patients that want to learn. I also explained that all infections are not equally contagious from the extreme of chickenpox to the unlikely of an internal infection such as appendicitis.  

* Many of the names in Medicine were decided before complete understanding of the processes involved, therefore although fairly standard there are occasions where the suffix does not fit.  Prostatis is a case in point, is it really an infection or just inflammation? why does it respond to antibiotics? why does it flare up with stress?


Entry filed under: Doctor Musings. Tags: , , .

all my meds Regret

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