Monday, July 7, 2014


Medical Student Syndrome

"10:27 a.m.: Another fart"I was once CONVINCED I had Boerhaave syndrome, an extremely rare condition where your esophagus is ruptured and acid and air spill into your chest, because my chest tickled after a small bout of coughing. I spent two hours in the dark, unable to sleep, listening to my chest with a stethoscope, and UpToDate-ing (our version of WebMD) the various ways in which I'd be dead before morning. I ran to the Emergency Room and told them I needed a stat Gastrografin Esophogram, stat as in: yesterday. The attending took one look at me and said, “Congratulations, you're a cliché! Go Home.”

—Did you know that first- and second-year medical students tend to think "they’ve contracted whatever disease it is they’re studying"? Other revelations in this Slate story about doctors' relationships to hypochondria over time: in a pre-WebMD world, Hans Christian Anderson carried around a note that said "I only seem dead" in case anyone felt inspired to bury him alive, and Charles Darwin kept "fart logs." Everyone has secrets. [Slate]

8 Comments / Post A Comment


I think the doctors themselves should be able to overcome this disease.


omg amazing!! xo ♥@l


I won't click over to Slate but I believe that about med students. I work at a med journal that focuses on neurosurgery, and the first year turned me into a major hypochondriac. I would read, "Patient presented with a headache. Within 12 hours patient was deceased," and I'd say, "Oh shit, I have a headache right now! I'm dead!" I mean these were totally normally people who presented with the most minor ailment and then they'd die or end up paralyzed or something terrible. Now I look at those twisted spines and giant brain tumors and just go, meh, I'm probably fine.


Yes, haha. As a med student living with another med student, we look in each others throats, and at each others eyeballs, pimples, etc. more than average roommates I'm sure. It seems like the cases that get to me the most are the ones where we're given enough personal details about the patient that they become relatable. This year I've been mildly worried about: cancer, ICA dissection, cancer, Sjogren's, cancer, cancer.

eizverson22 - the slate article says only first and second year med students experience this, during the clinical years when you get a lot of patient experience you start to realize how uncommon most of these things are.
[PS - finally got a hairpin account!]


I used to proofread medical textbooks and this happened to me all the time. I have cancer! I have AIDS! I have opioid-induced constipation!

Matic Kumar@facebook

One day my friend thought he had meningitis. I don't know why lol. He went to the doctor, who clearly told him that he's fine. Doctor also gave him a list of symptoms that would show that he has meningitis. My friend came back home and thought about those symptoms night and day and after a few days, he was convinced he has all of those symptoms. Now that was screwed up and he should really become a doctor. Matt


good to know about it. i thought to share home remedies for dry skin with you.

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