A medical perspective on the adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, although primarily famous as stories of detection of crime, offer a considerable amount to interest the medical reader. There are many medical references in the stories, and the influence of Conan Doyle's medical background is clearly seen in the main characters. Aspects of the stories also reflect Conan Doyle's medical career, and also something of his attitude towards the profession. From Holmes's sayings and accounts of his methods, parallels can be drawn between Holmesian deduction and the diagnostic process. It is concluded, however, that deduction cannot be used as a direct paradigm since medical problems are rarely soluble through a process of logic alone.
James Reed was a medical student at the University of Birmingham at the time of writing. He is now working as a House Officer at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley.