Mysteries: Cracking the Complex Case

— Three physicians detail puzzling cases that stuck with them


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Amy Ho: Hello, everyone! And welcome to Anamnesis by MedPage. I'm Amy Ho -- ER doctor and your podcast host!

For those of us joining us again -- howdy -- and for those of you new to Anamnesis -- welcome! You're in a good place.

This is the place where we celebrate the parts of medicine that don't always hit the limelight. It's not about the newest drugs or the latest how-to on the cool procedure -- this is where we talk about the medicine behind medicine -- what keeps us going in this field.

And what keeps us going in medicine is this -- the stories. The stories of you, the stories of patients, the stories of your history that led you to be here, the stories we become a part of when we join the stories of our patients as their clinicians.

And that's what we celebrate at Anamnesis.

Now, last episode was a bit special because we featured three stories from one storyteller, but we are back to our usual.

Here, we have three stories that surround a central theme -- and our theme today is "Mysteries: Cracking the Complex Case."

Now, allow me a few seconds for my story -- when I was growing up, I LOVED the show "House, MD." For those of you who didn't ever see it, first, go back and find it, but second, the story basically followed Dr. House who was a crotchety but brilliant doctor as he solved extremely complicated cases, one every episode. I used to watch the show and try to guess the diagnosis with every twist and turn during the episode -- and this was before I'd even gone to medical school. Truth be told, it was probably a large part of why I ended up going to medical school.

And it wasn't just fiction, because this really happens in actual life, too. What is so cool about medicine is that you get to be part detective, part diagnostician. The patient is the mystery, and your HPI [history of present illness], labs, imaging is how you illicit clues -- all to put together to solve the puzzle of their disease. Now, the disease, the condition, is usually a science, even the final puzzle -- the final diagnosis -- is usually a science, that's classic medicine. But the art is really in how you coax out clues that could be relevant, could be not relevant, as you piece together the greater picture.

Here on this episode, we have three doctors sharing their mysteries -- follow along as you watch them hunt and put together clues to finally crack the mystery.

Chapter 1: Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best (3:44) -- Pediatric neurologist braces himself for the worst-case scenario. Story by Jeffrey Russ, MD, PhD.

Chapter 2: Not Diagnosed Sooner Because He Wasn't White (21:45) -- Presented with classic signs and symptoms, but still not tested. Story by Jennifer Taylor-Cousar, MD.

Chapter 3: You Have to Treat the Entire Patient (39:53) -- Surgeon puzzled by source of bony buildup after knee injury. Story by Sonya Sloan, MD.

Episode produced by Sophie Putka

Hosted by Amy Ho, MD

Sound engineering by Greg Laub

Theme music by Palomar

Want to share your story? Read the Anamnesis Storyteller Tip Sheet and send us an email at