William Dock (1898 – 1990) was an American cardiologist.
In the 1940’s he cautioned that high-fat diets could lead to atherosclerosis. Dock introduced ‘bed to chair‘ movement within the first 48 hours of acute myocardial infarct in the 1930’s. Described as ‘an irascible visionary whose prophetic warnings bucked convention...’
Popularised ‘Sutton’s Law‘ (Dock’s Law) – if ‘the money‘ resides in a specific diagnostic test, then that test should be conducted immediately instead of several steps into a general algorithm
- Born 1898 Ann Arbor, Michigan
- 1923 – Rush Medical College in Chicago
- Croix de Guerre for his service (volunteer ambulance driver) in France during World War I
- Professor of Pathology at Stanford
- Professor of Pathology at Cornell
- Died October 17, 1990
Go to the patient, because that’s where the diagnosis is.” [Dock’s Law]
Key Medical Attributions
Aware of the thromboembolic complications caused by prolonged bed rest he recommended early ambulation. At a symposium at Cornell, he presented the topic “The abuse of bed rest”. Extensive work on atherosclerosis, diet and the ageing heart.
Dock explains the 99 diphthong misnomer (1973)
Tactile fremitus has been used to describe precordial vibrations perceived in a tactile, rather than acoustic, manner. Students have been taught to instruct the patient to utter the number ‘99‘ to best elicit these vibrations.
However this is a literal translation error from the original German “neun und neunzig.” This term uses a diphthong not found in “ninety nine,” but similar to “toy boat.” Research has shown this diphthong is essential to the characteristic of the sound useful for diagnostics.
Dock’s take on 99
When our medical ancestors studied in Austria or Germany, they observed that physicians asked patients to say neun und neunzig to evoke fremitus over the thorax. When they came home they taught their patients to say ninety-nine, thus translating literally, but not phonetically, what they had heard. This was a serious error, since their teachers would have asked patients to say: nein, nein, if that was the sound they had wanted. Nein, nein was what every girl had been taught to say to overeager swains, and men said it to friends who wanted a loan. Neun und neunzig is pronounced noyn unt noynzig and the oy is what it takes to evoke palpable, low-pitched vibrations, most effectively transmitted from the larynx to the rib-cage. “Nein, nein” and ninety-nine are high-pitched sounds, useless for evoking fremitus. We continue to translate the one phrase we should have left in German, while leaving untranslated, or mistranslated and mispronounced, bruits and rales. We should use boy, boy, or boogy, woogy, as equivalents of neun und neunzigDock 1973
- Dock W. Mode of production of the first heart sound. Arch lntern Med, 1933; 737-746
- Dock W. The eviil sequelae of complete bed rest. JAMA. 1944;125(16):1083-1085
- Dock W. Presbycardia, or aging of the myocardium. NY State J Med 1945 45,983-986
- Dock W. The mechanism and management of circulatory failure. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1951 Nov;27(11):645-52. [PMC1930129]
- Dock W. Hypercholesteremia; its clinical significance and management. Med Clin North Am. 1952 May;36(3):865-74. [PMID 14928861]
- Dock W, Zoneraich S. A diastolic murmur arising in a stenosed coronary artery. Am J Med. 1967 Apr;42(4):617-9. [PMID 6023006]
- Dock W. Atherosclerosis: the facts and the mysteries. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1967 Sep;43(9):792-7. [PMC1806766]
- Dock W. Examination of the chest: advantages of conducting and reporting it in English. Bull NY Acad Med 1973;49: 575-582 [PMC1807045]
- Dock W. Proteinuria: the story of 280 years of trials, errors, and rectifications. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1974 Jun;50(6):659-66.[PMC1749399]
- Sangster JF, Oakley CM. Diastolic murmur of coronary artery stenosis. Br Heart J. 1973 Aug; 35(8): 840–844. [PMC458712]
- Weisse AB. William Dock, M.D. Hosp Pract (Off Ed). 1987 Aug 15;22(8):43-5, 49, 52-6 passim. [PMID 3114279]
- Zoneraich S. The legacy of William dock, a giant of American cardiology. Clin. Cardiol. 1994; 17,95-97 [PDF]
- Rytand DA. Sutton’s or Dock’s law? N Engl J Med. 1980 Apr 24;302(17):972. [PMID 6987522]
- Altman LK. A Law Named for Willie Sutton Assists Physician. The New York Times. Jan 3 1970
- Cheng O. William Dock, Willie Sutton and Sutton’s Law. Int J Cardiol. 2010 Jun 11;141(3):209-13 [PMID 20064670]
- Fowler G. Dr. William Dock, 91, innovator who questioned medical beliefs. New York Times. October 23, 1990.
- Portrait: https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-101413766-img [NLM 101413766]
the person behind the name