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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My pet alligator

During my recent vacation I visited an alligator farm in the Everglades. Because I had never paid close attention to Jurassic Park I hadn't realized that the gender of alligators is determined not by genetics but by the ambient temperature when an egg is fertilized. You learn something every day.

That alligators make lousy housepets didn't come as a shock. Baby alligators are cute in their weird reptilian way, and they grow up with nice toothy grins on their faces. They just don't posses a limbic system. Try as they might, they can't form emotional attachments.

You can take a freshly hatched alligator and nurture it for years, but it still wouldn't hesitate to bite off one of your body parts if it were hungry enough. Without a limbic system and a cerebral cortex, the alligator does not have the circuitry for sentimentality. Little wonder that people feed the alligators in their neighborhood hoping that the it will be grateful and behave accordingly, only to have it chomp down on an unlucky small mammal when given the opportunity.

I saw a very nice young lady in the office for evaluation of abdominal problems which get worse when she goes to court. As a trial lawyer she goes to court fairly frequently.

"I recommend you quit your job, go back to school, learn a trade, and make your living by helping people. Not only will your pain go away, but you'll also sleep much better at night."

In my dreams.

The reality is that she received the same treatment that I give all my patients. I reviewed the different diagnoses she could have, discussed diet and pharmacological therapy, and presented the diagnostic yield of the vast array of tests we have. She listened attentively and asked very good questions. It was a pleasure taking care of her.

For the life of me, I just could not get the image of those cute little alligators out of my mind the entire time she was there.

Tragically, all patients look a little like alligators these days.


Anonymous Halram said...

My wife, who teaches art in high school, has now concluded that maybe a few of her students are missing their limbic systems as well...they are beginning to resemble baby alligators just like your patients !

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

Don't feed the patients!

1:48 AM  
Blogger JusPasenThru said...

My daughter teaches 5th grade. I've noticed she has a few less fingers lately.

Most of my patients have limbic systems. But can I tell which ones don't?

8:09 AM  
Anonymous rab said...

Sorry- I have not figured out the log in procedure yet. Somehow if you go to "login and publish' you end up in limbo. If you go to "preview" it seems to work better.

I am going to write the first installment of my
1.2 billion liability lawsuit. It was twenty five years ago but still sort of fresh in my mind.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Roy Naka said...

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11:05 AM  

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