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The GenerEhlist - CCFP Exam Prep, Low Risk Obstetrics & Canadian Primary Care Medicine

Apr 14, 2024

Today we shall be talking about Pneumonia! What an exciting topic.

According to Dr William Osler considered to be the “father of modern medicine” and who trained at McGill, pneumonia is known as “the old man’s friend” he wrote, “"Pneumonia may well be called the friend of the aged. Taken off by it in an acute, not often painful illness, the old man escapes those 'cold gradations of decay' so distressing to himself and his friends.” Dr. Olser himself died from complications of pneumonia.

Pneumonia has a fascinating history as it has been with humanity for many centuries. Symptoms of pneumonia were first described by Hippocrates around 460 BC, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that doctors were aware pneumonia was its own condition and not a symptom of another disease.

Interesting tidbits of pneumonia related history, Dr. Edwin Klebs was the first person to observe bacteria causing pneumonia under the microscope in 1875 and the bacterial genus klebsiella was named after him.

Strep pneumonia, commonest cause of CAP was the first bacteria to be gram stained to distinguish gram positive from gram negative bacteria by Hans Christian Gram in 1884. Hence the name “Gram” stain.

The Spanish Flu in 1918, which was an H1N1 influenza A pandemic, killed more people than the first world war in combat, resulting in approximately 20-50 million deaths, and was the second most deadly pandemic on record. In comparison, Covid19 worldwide deaths stand at around 7 million according to the WHO in November 2023.

Alright, we could talk all day about pneumonia history, but its time to focus on CCFP objectives for pneumonia!