Historical Clinicopathological Conference
Over the past ten years, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center have produced an annual conference called "The Historical CPC". A CPC, or Clinicopathologic Conference, is a medical clinical exercise in which the history of a patient's illness is presented to an experienced clinician for discussion in a didactic setting. This form of conference is used to teach our students and house staff how an experienced clinician would approach a difficult or challenging case. We present an unusual, modern case on a weekly basis, but once a year we stray from our modern cases and discuss an historical figure. Over the past ten years we have discussed the deaths of Mozart, Pericles, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander the Great, and Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as the mental health of General George A. Custer. This year we will be venturing back in time once again. According to historical records, Herod sought many remedies for his excruciating ailment, from soaking in warm baths at Callirrhoe to sitting in a tub of hot oil.
"If we take some time to understand the history of medicine, we learn humility," said Philip Mackowiak of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the U.S. Veterans Administration's Maryland Health Care System. "We think the medicine we are practicing today is the [best] medicine and that future generations will marvel at our intelligence. History teaches you that this just isn't so. What we recommend to patients today might be viewed as preposterous" by future generations.
At the conference, Herod the Great was "interviewed" in the persona of Herod scholar Peter Richardson of the University of Toronto, who donned a gold and emerald green gown and a jeweled crown for the occasion
It was chronic kidney disease complicated by a severe infection that led to the rotting of his genitals, said Jan Hirschmann, a clinician at a Veterans' Administration hospital and professor of medicine at the University of Washington.
Faith Fitzgerald is an internist, professor of medicine and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the University of California Davis, Sacramento. She took her M.D. at the University of California, San Francisco in 1969, was Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1973 and has been teaching medical students and residents ever since. She has written on a wide variety of topics in medicine, including protean disease states, medical education, physical diagnosis and bioethics. She is a Master of the American College of Physicians, and sees patients in both hospital and clinic.
This Year's Event
The 2004 historical case will be discussed by Hinrich Staecker, M.D., Ph.D., Acting Director of Otolaryngology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Donald F. Easton, Ph.D, London specialist in archeology, history and language of pre-classical Anatolia. The conference will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2004, at the School of Medicine's Davidge Hall. The conference is expected to run for 2 hours. Davidge Hall is the oldest building in the US continually used for medical education.
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