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Hickam's dictum

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Hickam's dictum is a counterargument to the use of Occam's razor in the medical profession.[1] While Occam's razor suggests that the simplest explanation is the most likely, implying in medicine that diagnosticians should assume a single cause for multiple symptoms, one form of Hickam's dictum states: "A man can have as many diseases as he damn well pleases."[2] The principle is attributed to an apocryphal physician named Hickam,[3] possibly John Barber Hickam, MD.[4] When he began saying this is uncertain. In 1946 he was a housestaff member in medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Hickam was a faculty member at Duke University in the 1950s, and was later chairman of medicine at Indiana University from 1958 to 1970.[5] He died at age 55 in 1970.[6]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ See, e.g., "Hickam's Dictum versus Occam's Razor: A Case for Occam." W. Bradley Fields, MD, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI (2005) ([1] )
  2. ^ Wallace T. Miller, "Letter From the Editor: Occam Versus Hickam", Seminars in Roentenology, vol. 33 (3), 1998-07, page 213, attributed to "an apocryphal physician named Hickam"
  3. ^ Wallace T. Miller, "Letter From the Editor: Occam Versus Hickam", Seminars in Roentenology, vol. 33 (3), 1998-07, page 213, attributed to "an apocryphal physician named Hickam"
  4. ^ Mani, Navin; Slevin, Nick; Hudson, Andrew (20 December 2011). "What Three Wise Men have to say about diagnosis". The BMJ: 2. doi:10.1136/bmj.d7769.
  5. ^ Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology: September 2002 - Volume 22 - Issue 3 - pp 240-246 ([2] )
  6. ^ https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=hickam&GSfn=john&GSmn=b&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1970&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=45945708&df=all&[user-generated source]

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