A Case Study in the History of Neurology by Gregory S. Day, et.al

“… each generation of physicians imagined that ignorance was the special provenance of their elders.” Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

In this manuscript Dr. Day and colleagues reflect on their experience managing a young patient who most likely suffered from anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Although this disease is now well-recognized throughout the world, this wasn’t always the case… and, unfortunately, still isn’t the case in all doctor’s offices / clinics and hospitals around the world. The authors draw from their experience a number of valuable lessons that can be learned from the history of neurology: chief among these, the importance of listening to the patient. The limits of disease are NOT defined by criteria in a medical textbook or by our limited understanding of the workings of the body and the brain, but rather by the patient’s experience and perception of suffering. This realization encourages humility among practitioners, and ingenuity among those researching cures for many misunderstood diseases of the nervous system. As stated by the Authors in their conclusion, “We become better doctors when we adapt this process to provide the best care for today’s patients. We become the best doctors when we use the lessons from yesterday to improve diagnosis today and treatment tomorrow.”