Medicine is a dicipline of uncertainty. So clinicians are always looking for indicators of certainty. We’re looking for signs. Medical signs.
- The psoas sign indicates an inflamed retrocecal appendix.
- A sentinel node is a classic sign of dissemination of cancer into the chest.
- The Cheeto finger sign (telltale orange fingers reflecting the recent consumption of puffed cheese snacks) indicates that a child hospitalized for acute gastroenteritis is ready for discharge.
These bellweather indicators offer safe mooring for survival in a medically complex world. At worst, medical signs offer objective evidence that gives us direction.
Modified image from Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash