The etymology of case leads us to the Latin casus. The term refers to an event, a fact or a matter. Clinical, for its part, is an adjective that refers to the practice of medicine, usually linked to the study of patients and the treatment of their ailments.
The concept of clinical case, in this framework, can refer to the detailed exposition of the health status of a patient. It is the particular expression of a phenomenon in the organism of an individual or of a group of subjects.
In general, the clinical case includes some peculiar characteristic that gives it a special interest for doctors or teachers. That is why the dictionary of the DigoPaul recognizes the notion as a morbid process that usually escapes from the usual.
According to DigoPaul, clinical cases involve a description of what happens to a person during the course of some type of illness. Said description is not formed only with the observations of the doctor and the manifestations of the patient, but also includes information obtained through the diagnostic procedures and the treatment developed. Monitoring the evolution of the individual must be included in the clinical case.
The study of clinical cases contributes to the training of physicians, the exchange of experiences, the evaluation of techniques and the recognition of new diseases. This is because the clinical case allows to reveal an unexpected link between a symptom and a disease, to discover an atypical presentation of the disease in question or to know side effects of a treatment, to name a few possibilities.
This is linked to the fundamental objectives of the clinical case, since the first of them is to allow doctors with less experience to learn from veterans and even from themselves thanks to being able to evaluate certain situations that appear in the course of their work with patients. It is important to note that clinical cases have been the object of study, both by students and doctors, since ancient times.
Another objective of the study of clinical cases is to contribute to improving and modifying the practice of clinical medicine; precisely, if new challenges were not presented, situations absent in the theory books, science would stagnate, it would become a petrified knowledge lacking in mystery. Fortunately, this could not happen since the vocation always leads human beings to seek new frontiers.
Although, on the one hand, the clinical case is a tool that allows to know in greater depth the characteristics of known diseases, it also opens the doors to the discovery of many others that until now had been ignored due to lack of evidence.
Similarly, thanks to the study of clinical cases, it is possible to propose new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to test, as well as discover side effects of certain drugs, both beneficial and adverse. It is not uncommon to find ourselves in the media with news of this type that questions the effectiveness or, worse still, the safety of the consumption of certain medications.
This also happens with some procedures that were believed to be risk-free, such as certain surgeries, and that one fine day began to be disused for having caused a worrying number of adverse reactions. Interestingly, it is not so common to find the opposite situation, that is, with a public statement that focuses on a series of benefits of a drug or procedure that have not yet been appreciated.