I did a ton of microbiology practice cases yesterday and learned a lot – namely, that symptoms are irrelevant.
– “A woman presented to the ER [x] days after beginning her menstrual period..” = Toxic Shock Syndrome. Next!
– “infant” + “floppy” = Don’t let your baby eat honey. Botulism. Next!
– “recently ate a hamburger at a fast food restaurant” = oh good lord, don’t do that! Never do that! Hemorrhagic E. coli. NEXT!
– “prosthetic heart valve” = S. epidermidis. Done!
I wonder if they ever throw irrelevant information into the USMLE questions. They probably should – it would mean I’d actually have to read the symptoms and think logically.
A female patient walking into the ER with a recently-placed prosthetic heart valve, having just eaten at a fast food restaurant and also started her period two days earlier – that sounds a little more true-to-life than the cases above.
I don’t know how I’d simultaneously treat her TSS, EHEC, and endocarditis though.