Friday, May 09, 2008

On Investigating

A while back a mother wrote a book about how to write about a subject entitle "Bird by Bird". It talked about how to start a report about a subject you don't know. You investigate bid by bird and then write about it.

This concept was brought home during the tortuous history of my son Erik's illness. If the doctors had done what a good detective does, eliminate all the possibilities of what might might cause illness "bird by bird", they would have found what he has a long time ago. Just because the symptoms don't fit, doesn't mean that they don't exist. It takes looking. Complexity is usually the nature of a difficult case. The process of elimination may be boring and tedious. But is the only way that answers can be found that are not obvious.

There is a saying among doctors that goes something like this: If you hear a herd of horses don't think zebras. That is supposed to mean don't think of the least likely possibility. But to counter that one could also say: If you hear a herd of horses, don't think of zebras, but if you look and you see the herd running by, and all the horses are striped black and white, you shouldn't convince yourself that those are horses and not zebras.


Post a Comment

<< Home