"Teen Outsmarts Doctors In Science Class"

  1. "When doctors didn't give a Washington state high school student the answers she wanted, she took matters into her own hands.

    Eighteen-year-old Jessica Terry, brought slides of her own intestinal tissue into her AP science class and correctly diagnosed herself with Crohn's disease....

    ... Crohn's disease is an incurable, though treatable condition caused by inflammation in the intestines. It can cause malnutrition, ulcers, pain and discomfort.

    Still, she looks towards the future with optimism. She'll begin nursing school in the fall and hopes to have a kid's book on Crohn's disease published."

    Full story here:


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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   blondy2061h
    Wow, very cool. Congrats to her.

    I am kind of wondering why doctor's couldn't diagnose it, though. I didn't think Crohn's was that abscure.
  4. by   Valerie Salva
    Sometimes docs miss things that are text-book obvious. I've seen it a number of times.
  5. by   leslie :-D
    ok, i'm drawing a blank.
    how did jess get a sample of her intestinal tissue?
    and doctors were saying that granulomas had never shown up before? (or were samples even obtained?)
    anyways, she is one amazing young lady.
    you go, jess.

  6. by   oregonchinamom
    I read about this. The girl had debilitating symptoms for years that went undiagnosed. She knew her AP science class was going to be looking at slides so asked for a few of hers. She looked at them meticuliously and found one granuloma. Chrone's can actually be hard to diagnosis. She said that she is really gratefull to the pathologist who gave her the slide.
  7. by   cjcsoon2bnp
    I think its just another example of why its important to be an advocate for your own health and that you need to ask questions especially the really tough ones and you shouldn't always just believe what you're told.

  8. by   I love my cat!
    I know several people with Crohn's Disease.
    One factor that always makes their condition a lot worse is stress.
    I mention this because the article states this girl is starting Nursing School in the Fall and Nursing is an awfully stressful Profession.
    Maybe she is one of those 'cool as a cucumber type' and the stressful environment of this Profession won't get to her.

    I wish her well!!
  9. by   morte
    i think the heading is a little disingenuos (sp).....it wasnt her MD that she "out smarted" but the person reading the slides......i also wonder if she had been worked up for celiac disease, and if not, why not
  10. by   DMHG1812
    I am wondering how she was able to get access to her own tissue slides?
  11. by   Ranier
    I agree that the title is a little misleading. Good for her for persisting in finding a diagnosis, and it's a great story. But it sounds like her doctors were considering the right diagnoses and doing the right testing. They just didn't/couldn't make the diagnosis because her pathology reports didn't show any granulomas. And that could be due to error on the part of the pathologist or a technician, but it could have also been unavoidable and no one's fault. Maybe the slides they looked at didn't show any granulomas (it did say she only saw one). Diagnostic testing, especially the type that need to be read and interpreted by human eyes, aren't 100% and that's not necessarily because someone screws up.

    I guess she signed out one of her slides from the pathology lab the way others can sign out their x-ray films from radiology centers. Anyway, good for her and it's definitely a cute story. And yay for all the AP science students who are interested in nursing school!
  12. by   PacoUSA
    18 years old, how about that?

    She has the makings of a groundbreaking researcher!
  13. by   whoknows56
    There are lots of things wrong with that article. Perhaps the worst is the statement that a single granuloma is a "clear indication that she had Crohn's disease." It is not. Granulomas do not make it crohn's disease and you don't need granulomas to make the dx. And if she really has Crohn's disease (despite, apparently, negative biopsies apart from one tiny abnormality) wouldn't the clinicians have been all over it? Doctors see biopsies on people all the time who have "Crohn's disease" yet have never had biopsy documentation of anything, or who have negative biopsies. That doesn't prevent the diagnosis from being made by other methods. Grrrrrr, the media.

    The other thing that this story portrays is that pathology is easy. Anyone can do it, even some high school girl. Pathology knowledge is not something that you are born with and being able to read a pathology slide is not a skill you are born with. The field of pathology is very difficult and demanding. You just dont just take a biomedical course in high school and throw a slide down and make a diagnosis.
  14. by   AMY0113
    It sounds like she needs to be in research or pathology. It is great that she was able to find a diagnosis to her symptoms. Its to bad her doctors couldn't find it but she could. This definately says something about her medical care she is receiving!! She definately has the critical thinking skills to be a nurse but to find this on her own is amazing. My friend has crohns disease and was wasting away in front of her doctors eyes. With numerous procedures, medication and finally surgery to remove part of her intestine she has it under control. We were all very worried for her and to finally have a diagnosis is a double edge sword. Glad to know but worried about the future.