34 - The Physical

The physical exam has become a ritual of the modern doctor’s appointment, with pokes, prods, and strange tools. How did this become a normal thing to do? In this episode, I’ll discuss how the physical exam went from the medieval examination of a flask of urine to basically what we have today in just a few decades in early 19th century France, and how the exam is still developing in the 21st century. Plus, a brand new #AdamAnswers about why Americans insist on using the Hermes’ Staff as a symbol for medicine. All this and more in episode 34 of Bedside Rounds, a tiny podcast about fascinating stories in clinical medicine!   Sources: Antic T, DeMay RM. “The fascinating history of urine examination,” Journal of the American Society of Cytopathology (2014) 3, 103e107 Ghasemzadeh N and Zafari AM, “A Journey into the History of the Arterial Pulse,” Cardiology Research and Practice Volume 2011 (2011). McGee S, Evidence Based Physical Diagnosis 4th edition. Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Based-Physical-Diagnosis-Steven-McGee/dp/0323392768 Nicolson M, Commentary: Nicholas Jewson and the disappearance of the sick man from medical cosmology, 1770–1870. Int J Epidemiol 2009;38:622–33) Jewson ND. The disappearance of the sick-man from medical cosmology, 1770–1870, Sociology , 1976, vol. 10 (pg. 225-44) Robertson WE. Physical diagnosis from the time of Rontgen. Ann Med Hist. 1934;6:255–63 Rodgers MM, “Piorry on Pleximetry and Auscultation,” Boston Med Surg J 1852; 46:151-152 Tan SY and Hu M, “Josef Leopold Auenbrugger (1722 - 1809): father of percussion. Singapore Med J 2004 Vol 45(3):103 Walker HK, “The Origins of the History and Physical Examination,” Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations.Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Wallis F, Signs and Senses: Diagnosis and Prognosis in Early Medieval Pulse and Urine Texts. Social History of Medicine Vol. 13 No. 2 pp. 265-278. Wilcox RA et al, “The Symbol of Modern Medicine: Why One Snake Is More Than Two,” Ann Intern Med. 2003;138:673-677. Verghese et al, A History of Physical Examination Texts and the Conception of Bedside Diagnosis. Voswinkel P, From uroscopy to urinalysis. Clinica Chimica Acta 297 (2000) 5–16

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