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Chapter 1

Critical Thinking Questions

1. A 67-year old man is found dead after being involved in an unwitnessed
automobile accident. His family reports that he had a history of heart disease
and diabetes mellitus. An autopsy is ordered to determine the cause of death.
Describe the procedures used in an autopsy and what the coroner would
examine in this specific case to make a determination.
The autopsy would involve opening the cranial, thoracic, and
abdominopelvic cavities. Organs in these cavities would be checked for
injuries caused by the wreck as well as for any underlying problems.
Based on the patients history, the brain and heart would be carefully
studied to see the extent of the heart disease and its possible effect on
the brain since a stroke might have caused the wreck. Blood chemistry
would also be studied to see if the diabetes might have played a part in
causing the wreck possibly due to ketoacidosis.
2. A 37-year old woman is admitted to the hospital after complaining of chest
pains. She admits to having had severe headaches for several days prior to
seeking medical help. She is also taking medications for high blood pressure
and is four months pregnant. Which medical imaging procedures would be
the best choice of a physician attempting to determine her condition?
(Assume all equipment is available and there are unlimited funds to cover
costs incurred.)
Ultrasound scanning (Doppler ultrasound) would be the best choice to
protect the fetus and to visualize blood flow through the blood vessels;
however, ultrasound is of limited use in looking at structures
surrounded by bone, such as the brain. But it could be used to check
out the heart. CT scans, with appropriate abdominal shielding, could be
used to study the brain to try and determine the causes of the
headaches if the ultrasound does not give a definitive answer.
3. Jamie, a student working in the radiology department of a hospital, was
diagnosed with pleurisy. Based on your knowledge of anatomy and
physiology terminology, what is pleurisy? What general body cavity is affected
by this disorder? What specific body cavity and serous membrane is affected
by this disorder? Could pleurisy spread to the gastrointestinal tract or the
Pleurisy is inflammation of the pleural membrane around the lungs. The
pleural membrane consists of a parietal layer lining the chest wall and a
visceral layer covering the lung surface. The body cavity affected is the
thoracic cavity. Pleurisy could not spread to either the GI tract of the
kidneys because, except for the esophagus of the GI tract, these organs
are in the abdominopelvic cavity. Pleurisy could not affect the
esophagus since it lies outside of the lungs in the mediastinum and is
not covered by the pleural membrane.
4. Using directional terms, describe the body position of a patient sitting in a
chair in the doctors office, and a patient that is laying on a hospital bed on his
back with his knees bent.
Patient sitting in a chair: Patient is positioned with the head and torso
superior to the chair seat and anterior to the chair back. The patients
gluteal area is superior and horizontal to the chair seat. The patients
thighs extend anteriorly and superiorly to the chair seat. The legs hang
anteriorly and inferiorly to the chair seat. The feet are anterior and
inferior to the chair seat and positioned horizonally and superiorly to
the floor.
Patient laying on a hospital bed on his back with knees bent: Patient is
in a supine position with the head and torso superior to the bed surface.
The thighs rise superiorly to the torso and bed and intermediate
between the torso and feet. The knees are superior to the bed and body.
The lower legs are inferior to the knees and superior to the bed. The feet
are horizontal to and superior to the bed surface.
5. Using as many directional terms as possible, describe the location of the liver
in relation to the stomach, the lungs, the skin, the knee, the vertebral column,
kidneys, and the nose.
The liver is superior to the stomach, inferior to the lungs, deep to the
skin, proximal to the knee, anterior to the vertebral column, anterior to
the right kidney and anterior and slightly superior to the left kidney.