Monday, December 12, 2011

Palm Reading

I love looking at people’s hands.

My fascination with hands started when I learned how to I.V cannulate.  I found myself subconsciously evaluating the potential ease or difficulty an I.V start would be, even absentmindedly tapping along the length of a vein (usually creeping out the boyfriend or family member).

Now that I’ve been learning so much about how many clues the hands and nails can reveal regarding systemic pathology, I’m becoming borderline obsessive about looking at the hands of people around me…hoping to see some obscure clue to illness.

Last night I came across a quote in my favorite textbook, “Hamilton Bailey’s Demonstrations of Physical Signs in Clinical Surgery” which I thought encapsulated my rekindled curiosity,

“Regarding the hands, ‘one does not need the mysteries of palmistry to read in them something of the past, a great deal of the present, and even a little of the future. In them is written the record of age and sex; of occupation and habits; of skill or ineptitude; of hard work or indolence’ (Cutler)."


Just Me said...

Good for YOU!!! It's a lost art, but I've found it has found some amazing things - severe anemia, how about Mees lines - seen them (high lead levels causing inc BP in a menopausal woman), clubbing, and kidney disease. I think of what it must have been like for my great-great grandfather doctoring in the 18th.

Solitary Diner (Also Known as The Frugalish Physician) said...

I recently saw Terry's nails and a Dupuytren's contracture in a chronic liver disease patient, and I was so excited! It's interesting how the body provides so many clues as to what's going on when we know what to look for.

(Of course, often it's still easier to just run the blood test.)

Cartoon Characters said...

So true!!

btw, i posted a cartoon for you! ;)
Hope your Christmas break is a good one!

Anonymous said...

The list of hand findings is really interesting, and impressive if you can catch something subtle, but often too difficult to commit to memory.

I mostly just assess people's vocations from their hands. Youd be surprised how many mechanics are surprised that I deduced "grease on hands" implied their profession.