Bedside Rounds is a storytelling podcast about medical history and medicine’s intersections with society and culture. Host Adam Rodman seeks to tell a few of these weird, wonderful, and intensely human stories that have made modern medicine.
68 - The History
Internal medicine physicians like to pride ourselves on our clinical reasoning – the ability to talk to any patient, pluck out seemingly random bits of information, and make a mystery diagnosis. But how does this actually work? In this episode, called The History, I’ll be joined by Gurpreet Dhaliwal as we explore the beginnings of our understanding on how clinical reasoning works – starting in the middle of the 19th century with polar tensions between two ways of approaching our patients that are still felt today. Along the way, we’ll talk about the American Civil War, Car Talk, Sherlock Holmes, and whether the practice of medicine can ever be considered a science.
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Fitzgerald F, Curiosity. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/0003-4819-130-1-199901050-00015 Montgomery K, How Doctors Thinks (amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/How-Doctors-Think-Clinical-Judgment/dp/0195187121) Da Costa J, Medical Diagnosis, 1864. https://openlibrary.org/books/OL23402241M/Medical_diagnosis
The Facemaker with Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris (#histmedconsultservice)
Modern plastic surgery was born out of the horrors of trench warfare in World War I. In this episode, Adam interviews historian Lindsey Fitzharris about her new book The Facemaker, about the life of surgeon Harold Gillies and his quest to rebuild his patients' faces.
67 - Fever on the Frontier
In the early 19th century, a strange new illness, seemingly unknown to medicine, ravaged settler communities in the American Middle West. As fierce debates about this new disease, now called milk sickness, raged – was it from toxic swamp gasses? arsenic in the soil? infectious microorganisms? from the poor constitutions of the settlers – an irregular medicine woman named Dr. Anna and an indigenous Shawnee healer discovered the cause of the disease and successfully prevented it in their community. But their discovery went unheeded for over a half century. This is a live podcast that I gave to the South Dakota chapter of the American College of Physicians – plus a new Stethospeaks with Dr. Umme H. Faisal on the history of Resusci-Annie’s mysteriously serene face!
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DOYLE JT. Milk sickness. N C Med J. 1947 Jul;8(7):404-10. PMID: 20250350. Furbee L, Snively WD Jr. Milk sickness, 1811-1966: a bibliography. J Hist Med Allied Sci. 1968 Jul;23(3):276-85. doi: 10.1093/jhmas/xxiii.3.276. PMID: 4875594. HARTMANN AF Sr, HARTMANN AF Jr, PURKERSON ML, WESLEY ME. Tremetol poisoning--not yet extinct. JAMA. 1963 Aug 31;185:706-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.1963.03060090038014. PMID: 13953145. Niederhofer RE. The milk sickness. Drake on medical interpretation. JAMA. 1985 Oct 18;254(15):2123-5. PMID: 3900448. Pickard ME and Buley RC, The Midwest Pioneer; His Ills, Cures, & Doctors. 1945. Snively WD Jr, Furbee L. Discoverer of the cause of milk sickness (Anna Pierce Hobbs Bixby). JAMA. 1966 Jun 20;196(12):1055-60. PMID: 5327806. Stenn F. Pioneer History of Milk Sickness. Ann Med Hist. 1937 Jan;9(1):23-29. PMID: 33943945; PMCID: PMC7942921. Townsend RB. Milk sickness- a plague on the new west. Scalpel Tongs. 1999 Jan-Feb;43(1):13-5. PMID: 11623628. Walker JW. Milk-sickness. Science. 1886 Dec 10;8(201):540. doi: 10.1126/science.ns-8.201.540. PMID: 17741312.
66 - Burnout
Burnout seems to stalk healthcare workers; between a third and a half of doctors and nurses had symptoms of burnout BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic. Major medical associations have recognized burnout as a serious problem and the condition is being added to ICD-11 as an “occupational phenomenon.” How did we get ourselves into this situation? How has burnout gotten so bad? In this episode, the first #HistMedConsultService, I’m joined by historians of healthcare and emotions Agnes Arnold-Forster and Sam Schotland to historicize burnout. Along the way, we’ll talk about the different structural factors that have colored burnout in North America and the United Kingdom; the disgruntled pediatrician syndrome, physician “impairment”, whether burnout is a disease, and what we might all be able to do to make everyone less miserable.
65 - The Last Breath
How can we medically tell whether or not someone is alive or dead? The answer is much more complicated than you'd think. In this episode, which is a live podcast I gave with Tony Breu at the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians annual meeting on October 16, 2021, we track the evolution and controversies of the death exam, from a trans-Atlantic scandal surrounding a possible vivisection, a 19th century “X-prize” to determine a technology that could diagnose death, the important distinction between “permanent” and irreversible, and the mysterious Lazarus phenomenon.
Rodman A, Breu A. The last breath: historical controversies surrounding determination of cardiopulmonary death. Chest. 2021; [online ahead of print August 13, 2021]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2021.08.006
64 - A Vicious Circle
During World War II, the US Army launched a seemingly routine experiment to find the ideal way to screen soldiers for tuberculosis. Jacob Yerushalmy, the statistician in charge of this project, would succeed at this task -- and end up fundamentally changing our conception of medical diagnosis in the process. This episode features Dr. Shani Herzig, as well as a new segment featuring Dr. Umme H. Faisal on Yellapragada Subbarow and his discovery of ATP.
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Umme H. Faisal on Twitter: @stethospeaks