ST. LOUIS, MO – National media outlets are abuzz today with the news that Nishant Kumar, a third-year medical student at St. Louis University’s medical school, nearly diagnosed a recent patient with a rare heavy-metal disorder.
“The diagnosis was, at first, quite elusive,” Kumar said. “He was a young patient with no prior medical history who came into the hospital with a chief complaint of abdominal pain. Many potential diagnoses littered my differential initially, but, as the patient’s story took shape, I began to realize that I needed to be looking for some sort of heavy-metal related problem.”
Sources close to Kumar confirmed that, within the medical school, he is widely known as an expert in the process of nearly diagnosing patients with heavy-metal disorders.
“The patient had abdominal pain, yes. But that was a red herring,” Kumar said excitedly. “After digging a little deeper, it became clear the pain was worse in the morning. So I asked him to run me through his morning routine.”
“Sure enough, he eats cereal for breakfast nearly every day,” Kumar continued. “And do you know what kind of cereal it was? That’s right: generic raisin bran cereal! Which is exactly when I knew that he had to own a parakeet. Or be close friends with someone who did.”
Inside sources confirmed that the patient did indeed know a parakeet owner at one point in time.
“Right about then, I knew that I was hot on the trail,” Kumar said. “So I asked, what color is the parakeet?”
Sources confirmed that the parakeet had been dead nearly two years.
“So I asked, what color was the parakeet? Turns out that the parakeet was green. GREEN! Which led me straight to the sexual history,” Kumar said. “And it was there that I found out that his college girlfriend used to wear green underwear. Which is when all the pieces just came together: this guy was suffering from CADMIUM DEFICIENCY.”
According to Medline, cadmium deficiency is a rare disorder that tends to give sufferers classic Weizcheck hives, mildly-low albumin levels, and cravings for chocolate pudding and other pudding-like foods. There are no known human cases.
“In addition to cadmium levels, I sent off twenty or so other labs to assist in the diagnosis including copper levels, zinc levels, and lithium-bound urobilinogen,” Kumar said. “It was quite an impressive diagnostic array, if I do say so myself.”
During the course of the two-hour interview, the patient was briefly allowed to go to the operating room for an appendectomy.
The patient, who wished to remain anonymous, was extremely grateful for the care provided by student-doctor Kumar and the entire medical team.
“I came in with severe abdominal pain, but now, after my appendectomy and the thorough workup for my possible cadmium deficiency, I feel much better!” the patient said.
While the patient’s cadmium level did come back within normal limits, as of press time, Mr. Kumar – still convinced of the diagnosis – was anxiously awaiting the return of the patient’s free cadmium level, with is both more sensitive and specific for the disorder.
The lab is a send-out to Abu Dhabi and results are expected back sometime before next Christmas.