Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five #006

Just when you thought your brain could unwind on a Friday, you realise that it would rather be challenged with some good old fashioned medical trivia. The format is starting to take shape – we will be trying to post questions on:

  • Rare or eponymous syndromes
  • Medical history or biography
  • Bizarre and ‘out there’ medical trivia to baffle your colleagues

In time we will colour code for different categories and have a blind submission poll to find the one person who actually gets all the questions correct!

Question 1

  • What is carpox?

  • Otherwise known as the ‘hailstone virus’. This newly discovered infectious diseases has just been reported by the MicroGnome. The virus is one of the largest known to man, between 3 and 5cm diameter with a terminal velocity of over 100 kph, it is capable of leaving multiple punched out craters in exposed skin.
  • Vehicles in the Western suburbs of Perth, WA and surrounding areas have been caught up in the first known case-cluster of this infection.
  • Clinical manifestations are predominantly superficial with cavitating lesions of the skin and underlying soft tissue.
  • Minor and major variants have been observed, already named by clinicians as carpox minor and carpox major.
  • Severe cases have been seen wrapped in blankets, but there is as yet no evidence of a beneficial effect of symptomatic treatment.
  • Experts have already started to dismiss some cases as a write-off, a tragedy when many affected vehicles clearly have plenty of life left in them. Observers noted that once the hailstone virus got inside the body of the vehicle while it was still moving, the car’s condition became critical and the outcome unpredictable.

Carpox Major

Question 2

  • On New Years Eve 2005 at the age of 97 years Michael Ellis DeBakey became the oldest person to undergo which operation?

  • DeBakey (1908–2008) suffered an aortic dissection at the age of 97 years.
  • Ironically, this was the disease that he had pioneered the surgical repair of years earlier (the DeBakey procedure).
  • DeBakey refused to have the operation initially but once he became unresponsive the surgical team controversially went ahead with the procedure. The operation lasted 7 hours and DeBakey lived another two-and-a-half years. He later said he was grateful the operation went ahead.
  • This factoid should have been a ‘gimme’ to regular Life in the Fast Lane readers as DeBakey was featured in two posts recently: SurgeXperiences 318 and Cardiovascular Curveball #008 .

Question 3

  • What is dysphagia lusoria?

  • Dysphagia resulting from compression of the esophagus by an aberrant retroesophageal right subclavian artery arising from a (normal) left-sided aortic arch.
  • The term comes from the Latin, lusus naturae, meaning “prank of nature”.
  • Dysphagia Lusoria Caused by an Aberrant Right Subclavian Artery [Reference]

Arteriogram: The aberrant right subclavian artery arises from the aorta distal to the origin of the left subclavian artery (arrow).

Question 4

  • In what ways do ‘Argyll Robertson pupils’ resemble prostitutes?

  • Both are traditionally associated with neurosyphilis, and both ‘accommodate but don’t react‘.
  • Just be thankful that we don’t have to call them ‘Douglas Moray Cooper Lamb Argyll Robertson‘ pupils …

Question 5

  • Who wrote in his autobiography:

” … an autobiography is an ideal vehicle for self-promotion and subtle shafting of one’s enemies!”

  • Struan Sutherland (1936-2002) was an Australain toxinologist and hydroponics expert who worked for CSL (before it became a private company).
  • He led the research teams that produced the antivenom for the Funnel Web Spider and developed the pressure immobilisation bandaging method of first aid for both snake bites and for funnel web spider bites.
  • He authored the legendary textbook ‘Australian Animal Toxins’ (the second edition was coauthored by Jim Tibballs).
  • Struan was a colourful character who developed striatonigral degeneration in his later years. He wrote his own death notice:

“Struan would like to inform his friends and acquaintances that he fell off his perch on Friday, 11 January, 2002, and is to be privately cremated. No flowers please. Donations to Australian Venom Research Unit, Melbourne University.”

Struan Sutherland

Struan Sutherland (Click on image to go to his obituary in the MJA)

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