By C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR
I got another one of those requests the other day that make
me completely insane. “Wet reading. Male with severe headache. Please call XXX-XXX-XXXX.” Turns out the
headache was 2 weeks ago. After a day of
serious drinking, and too little food, and too little sleep. Hmmmm, wonder what that’s about? Scan was
ordered, and patient didn’t show for first scheduled time of exam. Was busy. Hey,
he works on Wall Street, and someone has to be there.
So, here I am with an
early read at 6:15 PM, and a patient who is impatient to get out of there. Can’t
let him go until we reach the doc. Very specific note. I called the number.
Voice mail. I listened to the voice mail. Advised me to 1) go to ED, 2) call in
the morning, or 3) stay on the line for the answering service. Okay. Option
#3. Doctor ordering the exam was not on.
Being covered by a PA. PA didn’t know patient. “It’s normal?” Yes. “So, why are
you calling?” Rrrrrrrrrrrr….
What’s the most ridiculous “early read” request you’ve had? Winner
will be least appropriate exam, most ridiculous low-yield study, crappy
indication, and impossible-to-reach ordering physician. If someone was asked to
do a stat 4 view skull film series for a patient with possible Marchiafava-Bignami
disease, and the clinician was in the Galapagos in a single-man scull, you are
the winner by default. I’ll decide a winner by careful review of submissions. And
a flip of a coin.
Professional Biography: C. Douglas Phillips, MD,
FACR, is a Professor of Radiology, Director of Head and Neck Imaging, at
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York–Presbyterian Hospital,
New York, NY. He is a member of the Applied Radiology Editorial