Friday, June 5, 2009

Philosophy of science without history of science is empty; History of science without philosophy of science is blind

Lakatos I
History of Science and Rational Reconstructions

If something is not given enough attention in any medical specialty, it must be the history of the field. I am surprised to see how naive students are to the historical aspects of science. Whether it is a sign that is eulogized or a procedure that carries a name, the historical details are as fascinating as the scientific fact. However, one cannot blame the students. For, they have to keep abreast with the latest happenings of the field along with meeting their requirements of the course. Most often, questions on the historical aspects are asked to the students during academic sessions when they answer all other difficult ones, just to make sure they still don’t know everything!

Many of the senior consultants of Pediatric Cardiology have actually worked with the pioneers of this field. In our hospital (Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore), the HOD of Pediatric Cardiology, Dr Sunita Maheshwari had been a student of Dr Ruth Whitmore, who was trained under Dr Helen Taussig and started Pediatric Cardiology at Yale. Our senior Pediatric Cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Shekar Rao has worked with giants of filed like Dr Danielson. Ours is such a young branch, that we are at a transitional period in the development of this fascination. The current generations of students have all the possibilities of being big names in few years from now. I certainly feel that the knowledge of Historical aspects of science would make us feel more humble and proud at the same time. Aren’t theirs the same shoulder on which we are standing to witness wider horizons today?

From now on, I shall put up few posts on the historical aspects of Pediatric Cardiology, which I have followed fervently over past years. I shall also give the references for future studies for those interested. Believe me, with some imagination, you can relive those moments.

On the personal note, thanks to Dr Shweta Nathani for being the “first lady” follower of blog! Of course, I would be happier if my team can contribute more academic data and ideas to blog. I hope this would be met with in future.

We witnessed a 5-month-old baby with Aortico Pulmonary tunnel this week. Dr Sejal Shah diagnosed this on echo within no time! But, many of us saw the echo of this rare condition for the first time.

Is there any data on “How to define Right Atrium?” Is the uninterrupted IVC entry the most formidable clue? Aren’t cases of Total Anomalous Systemic Venous Connection described in history? At Narayana Hrudayalaya, we had a couple of children in whom the surgeons had actually witnessed the entry of IVC into LA on the table. One child at Narayana Hrudayalaya who came from Nigeria showed this last week. Even CT confirmed it. Surgery is not an option in him due to very complicated anatomy and extremely high risk. Dr Shweta showed us a quote from Moss and Adams textbook that virtually no instance in the world is described wherein IVC enters LA. Any difference of opinion from anyone? Please come up with your take in it with proof.

Any suggestions for improving the blog are welcome. Please come up with your contributions for the historical aspects of Pediatric Cardiology. Also, please let me know if you have any specific needs on the historical aspects.

Regards,

Kiran

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