pride and purpura

A truth universally acknowledged
is a doctor in need of a diagnosis
can fall hostage to cognitive bias,
we’re all human, let’s be honest.

I know what you’re thinking,
Jane Austen must be cringing,
how can an English romance
be of any relevance?

But where else to start
than lovers worlds apart
who defy premature closure,
what more can you ask for?

Stubborn and starry-eyed,
caught up in diagnostic pride,
it’s hard not to crave certainty
at the expense of humility.

See purpura, think vasculitis,
a red rash equals dermatitis,
a swollen knee must be arthritis,
and jaundice, obviously, hepatitis!

Our heuristics are not all bad,
many diagnoses are in the bag
until the day we’re led astray,
do we pause or get played?

It’s odd, don’t you think,
in a world of red and pink
to have so much certainty
re: all things dermatology?

Pride will be an enemy
of grappling with ambiguity
and a false sense of certainty
(just ask Elizabeth and Darcy).

And though defeat isn’t easy,
don’t let vanity be your folly,
maybe write a different story,
one with less predictability.

Guess classic literary themes
are rather versatile, so it seems,
even when cornily re-purposed
in honor of misdiagnosis.

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