Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Unborn as Spoken about in Med School

Some interesting language touching unborn patients in my STEP 1 review book (emphasis added):
Week 4 Heart begins to beat (504) 
Aminoglycosides [cause] CN VIII toxicity. [Mnemonic is] A mean guy hit the baby in the ear. (506) 
Warfarin [causes] Bone deformities, fetal hemorrhage.... [Mnemonic is] Do not wage warfare on the baby... (506) 
Branchial arch derivatives [mnemonic:] ...children tend first to chew (1)... (510)
All that is pretty interesting, no? I especially think it's interesting that the mnemonics refer to fetuses as "babies" or "children" indirectly. The mnemonics are frequently student-made and they're also made by people who don't care about pleasing others, but who just want to know the facts. When you don't have to court readers, the truth shines more clearly.

On the other hand, fetal circulation is explained as though the fetus is an organ and magically becomes an "infant" upon exiting the womb:
3 important shunts: (1) Blood entering the fetus through the umbilical vein is conducted via the ductus venosus into the IVC to bypass the hepatic circulation.... At birth, [the] infant takes a breath....
And there have been a few interesting wordings in the practice test Qbank, too. I'm not sure how those are copyrighted, but here are some phrases:
[There is a birth defect in] the fetus at 34 weeks of gestation. The baby is born alive at term...
[Maternal diabetes caused some birth defects and the mother] blames herself for 'not caring enough for my baby.'
We had a female reproductive pathology lecture last week, and the lecturer referred to endometritis as largely a thing of the past in this country thanks to legal abortions, and said in a regretful tone that it is seen more often in places where abortion is illegal. (I believe she probably meant to say that endometritis is not often seen in places where abortions are not performed or are done antiseptically, and is often seen where abortions are performed without antisepsis. But "no abortions" cannot ever be spoken of for some reason.) And she used the term "products of conception" and its abbreviation "POC" for the first time in our medical careers.

And we had a lecture today by an IVF doc who said on one of his first slide: "Processes of cell division are prone to errors that are significant and uncorrectable when an individual is represented by one or few cells." and he said aloud in comment that errors like this are tough when "you're only one cell." (I added the emphasis in both quotes.) Yet, his lecture talked all about IVF, and he presented a case where a couple went through (shudder) six embryos for one live birth.

And will our OB/GYN lecturer please stop calling the unborn people "parasites," even in jest? Would calling anyone else a parasite be even remotely acceptable?

Figure A. Parasite

Figure B. Fetus

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