If Sherlock Holmes was a doctor, this is what it might be like:

Posted on in General

Sherlock Holmes is the master of the science of deduction. He can just figure stuff out.

He gets a letter in the post. He knows that the paper is from Eastern Europe. The letter was written by a woman using a Parker iridium nib using royal blue Parker ink. The phone inside the letter has been make to look older. It is brand new. And so forth and so on.

Why can’t doctors use their powers of deduction to get the answers about patients as easily as Sherlock Holmes does?

The process of deduction in medicine is far more complex. There are over 13,000 medical conditions. A patient can have any one or more of these conditions. Some are common and some are very rare.

The conditions might not declare their presence with a full deck of signs and symptoms. These conditions hide their cards in plain sight.

The information about patients is dynamic. It changes daily or hourly or by the minute. So if you picture patient data, it can look like a swirling mass of numbers.

When doctors use their intuition, gained from many years of experience, they can be challenged and embarassed by their “wild ass” guesses.

When the doctors use rules of thumb, heuristics, they can miss the nuance of the case.

If they only use learnings from the medical literature or evidence, they might miss the key differentiators of the case.

So I would easily take over Sherlock’s job and his science of deduction. It is an easier gig, especially when presented on Masterpiece Mystery theater.