Philip Getson, D.O. Philosophy

Most people, if you describe a train of events to them will tell you what the result would be. They can put those events together in their minds and argue from them that something will come to pass. There are few people however who, if you told them the result would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backward, or analytically.

– Sherlock Holmes



Philip Getson, D.O.I have always been intrigued by mysteries and have had a special fascination with Sherlock Holmes long before Robert Downey Jr. made him a household name. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author, was medically trained by Dr. Joseph Bell whose attention to detail enabled him to come to remarkable conclusions. Doyle's work provided the reader with every necessary fact to solve the mystery. All that was needed was to ask the right questions and to pay attention to the slightest, most innocuous appearing bit of information.

My medical philosophy is derived from this simple premise. It is far easier to come to a diagnosis in most cases by taking a comprehensive history and in cases of injury by reenacting the traumatic event. It never ceases to amaze me what people will remember if you take them step by step through the circumstances that led them to present in your office.

I believe the mystery genre and Holmes in particular has made me a better diagnostician. This is not something that I was taught in school. In fact much of my medical training was based upon memorization. Today with computers and the internet, students seem to rely less and less on intuitive thinking and more on electronic information access. We need to get back to independent thinking!

For me there is no greater sense of accomplishment than to see the look on a patient's face when you can provide an answer to their medical problems. Whatever the diagnosis may be it still affords for the opportunity to intervene which, I have found, is far better than "not knowing."

I have always practiced using a combination of logic, deductive reasoning and intuition and will continue to do so.