History of Presenting Illness and Sutton’s Law

Willie Sutton, a legendary bank robber, escaped from prison three times and always returned to bank robbing. When asked why he robbed banks he gave what has become an iconic reply: “ … because that’s where the money is.”

The HPI orients the clinician to the patient’s problem and establishes an initial differential diagnosis. Of major importance is the temporal sequence and progression of symptoms.


Landsberg, Lewis (2015-07-15). On Rounds: 1000 Internal Medicine Pearls (p. 1). LWW. Kindle Edition.

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