listening

On listening to the patient

Osler, often referred to as the Father of Modern Medicine famously said: "If you listen carefully to the patient, they will tell you the diagnosis.” He emphasized both the value of a careful history in medical diagnosis and the value of learning from one’s patients. Ask any practicing clinician and they will have anecdotes that illustrate how right he was. One stands out for me.

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Listening to patients

One morning, in response to my question about how things were going, a young and first-time mother said that everything was fine but that it really hurt when her son nursed because of his tooth. I assured her that it was normal for the nursing to be uncomfortable in the beginning but that newborns do not have teeth. She insisted that her son did. One tooth. Left lower front. Sharp.

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