Lee Burton: The Importance of Medical History

How far back should their medical history go? If you want to know enough to make a difference, Lee Burton doesn’t want you to settle for knowing about the past few months.

When you take a medical history, the first thing you’re going to do is go all the way back into history.

“What have you ever had in your medical history?” “Have you ever sprained an ankle?” “Have you ever had a medical problem?” “Have you ever had a surgery?”

“I had surgery when I was 25, but I’m 70 now.”

Let’s think about what the surgeon did. If he had an abdominal surgery when he was 25 and he’s 70 years old now, they probably cut through all of his abdominals. They probably sliced him open.

Don’t just ask for the medical history. Most people think that means maybe the past six months. Try to provide them with more leads into what you’re looking for.

“Did you play sports in high school?” “Yeah, I hurt my shoulder. I dislocated my shoulder when I was in high school.”

That’s part of the medical history, because that probably set them up to have compensations over the years.

Try to get a good medical history. Don’t just think about the last few months, six months or the past year. Go back farther. There are also the other findings—heart rate and all of the typical stuff you’re going to look for. These are all normal for this person, but knowing he’s had several surgeries is going to be important as we go through this process.

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