“We take care of so many patients on a daily basis and we rarely get to tell their stories,” he said. “To be able to tell the story of the patients and give the learning points that we took away to others, I think is very rewarding.”
The winner of the trainee award,, a resident at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, presented the case of a 62-year-old woman with hypertension who had profound generalized weakness and an inability to walk.
“She actually came to the hospital because she couldn’t lift a cup of tea,” Dr. Bressman told judges.
Clinicians traced her problem to that very tea – a licorice-containing brew – after an ECG indicated hypokalemia. A breakdown product of licorice, glycyrrhizic acid, can prevent the breakdown of cortisol into cortisone, causing increased absorption of sodium in exchange for potassium, he explained.
“I really like interesting cases – it’s something I’ve thought about throughout medical school,” Dr. Bressman said. “It’s been incredibly fun. We have great cases at Montefiore. ... It’s taught me to think very broadly and with an expansive differential.”