In Community health most of our patients don't know what prior diagnoses they have had, let alone what pills they take or how tall they even are, some of this is due to lack of health knowledge/literacy, or cultural implications, but this particular case, I cannot fully explain.... it went a little something like this;
me; do you have any health problems like diabetes or hypertension, or have you ever been in the hospital
patient; yes, I was in the hospital last year for that thing that killed Bernie Mac... well, you know, that "thing"
me; no, I'm not sure what killed Bernie Mac....
a few seconds later, Wikipedia offered the diagnosis; "Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the solid organs, but had said the condition was in remission in 2005. His death on August 9, 2008 was caused by complications from pneumonia"
back to the patient...
me; sarcoidosis? wow, that's pretty serious (incredulous that patient didn't know this diagnosis)
patient; no, the other one
me; (after re-re-reading the wikipedia posting) pneumonia?
patient; yeah, that one... I think
ok.. it's one thing to not know your diagnosis, yet another to define it incorrectly by a diagnosis given to a now dead celebrity.... Pneumonia, now known as the disease formerly known as that which ultimately killed (but did not chronically pose a threat to) Bernie Mac.
Wikipedia caveat; can't say it's the first time wikipedia came through as an accurate clinical resource... it's a great way to look up icd9 codes, beats any iphone ap or online coder I have found!