Lest We Forget

With the combined rebuilding of ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ and our arrival at a new domain I feel refreshed and revitalised…’able to leap tall buildings in a single bound‘ and able to set forth some of the contextual learning principles to which I adhere…

However, for now, my ‘inner glow of satisfaction’ must remain insulated . For today, is not unlike any other day. Once more I endure an battle akin to Sisyphus to ensure adequate educational nutrition to minimalist leeches with the digestive tolerance of picky toddlers.

I cite for the court a selection of responses from my pseudo-sponges with respect to my dismay at their inability to define the disease processes or affected anatomical structures described by the Brugada brothers; Dr Wellens or the eminent Drs Lown, Ganong and Levine

We have been told that 1/3 of the information you tell us is already wrong, 1/3 of the information will be proven to be wrong within 5 years and 1/3 will be useful. Our job is to determine which third to learn and remember…

We don’t have to learn those stupid long names anymore. They are irrelevant and outdated. Instead we have been taught to define disease processes with an accurate pathophysiological description…

Most of the doctors who invented these diseases were either Nazi’s or Communists…

To assuage their partiality I have changed my usual pimping style from one of direct inquisition; implicit referencing; non-verbal communication and expectation to one of didactic regurgitation; handholding and platitudinal rhetoric. My educational ethos has now become defined by

  • Answer provision rather than interrogation
  • Information Dilution (to the point of derision)
  • Simplification
  • De-latinification and
  • The removal of historical context

However, there is hope. With my new canvas I envisage this reductionistic stage will be transient and through Arcanum Veritas the Life in the Fast Lane team will try to highlight some of the more notable and justifiable eponyms that should be usefully retained.

To truly define the domain of eponymous prolixity we have to understand the ‘Who’ aspect of naming convention. These ‘Who’s’ we speak of are on the whole people (medicine being a tiny bit scientifically based) that really existed (take note Horton…). In fact the Honorable names within the Eponymictionary are often associated with noted scientists or physicians of the time. These are not ‘made-up’ names; ancient orthographic hallows or personifications designed to bemuse or confuse – these people really existed

From time immemorial we have named streets, bridges, towns, canals and other objects after inventors, royalty or recognised public figures. Although there is conjecture as the veracity of certain nomenclatural associations, there is a historical significance and memorial benefit to defining the people purportedly behind each ‘named’ disease, syndrome or sign.

Personally I refer to the ‘Queen Victoria Bridge – Perth’ in preference to ‘the suspended road-bearing structure situated between bank A and bank B originating in the late 180o’s- Perth’. It is this ‘name association’ that defines historical context and enhances our spatial orientation, iterative contemplation and contextual learning.

I like to think of these ‘Who’s’ as the ‘definable anti-prolix‘ of modern medicine. Something Gen Y and Gen Z should consider before repudiating historical context to a period of quiescence.

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.