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Better Medicine Through Machine Learning: Suchi Saria (Transcript)

Full Text of Machine Learning Expert Suchi Saria’s talk titled “Better Medicine through Machine Learning” at TEDxBoston conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:

TRANSCRIPT:

Suchi Saria – Associate Professor of Machine Learning and Healthcare at Johns Hopkins University

Let me introduce you to Mrs. Manny. She came to the emergency room. She is fifty two years old. She came to the emergency room with a foot sore. Doctors investigated her foot sore and she ended up staying there in the hospital for 22 days.

Here’s what happened.

When she came to the emergency room for a foot sore, they inspected her, they saw no real reason for medical concern but they wanted to monitor in case her foot sore was infected. So, they put her in the general ward.

On day three, she starts developing symptoms of what looks like mild pneumonia. They give her the usual treatment of antibiotics and all’s good but then her condition starts to worsen.

On day six, she develops what’s called ‘tachycardia’ that means in medical speak, her heart rhythm has accelerated dramatically. She then has trouble breathing.

On day seven, she experiences septic shock; that means her body is in crisis. Incidentally, mortality in shock is one in two. Now, it’s only at this point that the doctors get really concerned and they transfer her to the intensive care unit.

ICUs are the units where the most critically ill patients get cared for. Here, they give her every possible treatment to stabilize her but her condition only worsens.

First, her kidneys start to fail. Then her lungs fail and on day 22, she dies.

Mrs. Manny did receive the right set of treatments. The problem is, she received them only too late. What Mrs. Manny experienced was an infection that turned into sepsis.

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