is a Professor in the Departments of Radiology, Neurosurgery, and
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and the Director of the
Division of Neuroradiology in the Department of Radiology,
University of Virginia Health Systems, Charlottesville, VA.He is
also a member of the editorial board of this journal.
I hate reality TV shows. They are not real in any traditional
sense of the word, but likely are "real" in a TV sense of the word.
If I had to live with any of those jerks on many of those shows,
I'm afraid that someone would be getting a beating. Maybe me, maybe
them. My stint on "Survivor" might end with me holding the other
contestants' heads under the water, one at a time, individually. On
the other hand, I LOVE some of these silly game shows. Try your
luck, see if you know something, ﬁll in the blank, pick
a suitcase. Those shows are fun. Dumb, random chance. Occasionally,
a chance to actually know something and win. I love to watch people
ﬁnally get their 15 minutes of fame, then panic in the
limelight, and lose it-they can't even answer correctly when asked
their name. It makes me think of two things-the oral boards, and
every day in the reading room.
So, Are You Smarter Than a Radiologist? Here's our contestant, Dr.
Margaret Ostosis, a surgeon. How are you?
I'm happy to be here. I want to take some of that radiology money
Great attitude, Margaret! Let's play! Here's your ﬁrst
question. You're given a complicated chest X-ray with a partial
pneumonectomy, 5 indwelling lines, and 2 prior studies, both of
which were signiﬁcantly rotated. There's a prior chest
CT from an outside hospital in the referring clinician's
ofﬁce across town. You've got 6 seconds to dictate the
What is all this? Can I call a friend? I don't know much about this
Oh, time's up! You were supposed to know, without any provided
history, that the patient may have a single misplaced venous line
and call the ICU. Your malpractice carrier will be upset! So sorry.
Let's try your second case.
Hey, this isn't what I expected!
Hey, Margaret, tough! Your second case is a series of
ﬁlms from a contrast GI study of a postoperative patient
who didn't cooperate very well and was very uncomfortable. You
spent an hour on this study, and there's lots of motion! But,
you've got history this time. The history is "Rule out pathology"!
You've got 2 seconds left, Margaret.
Hey, I can't ﬁgure out what is going on here! What is
Sorry, time's up again! No points! You were supposed to see that
very small anastomotic leak, then call the surgeon and the fellow
on call who's covering the service. OK, it's time for our
all-or-nothing round. The case is a plain ﬁlm of an
extremity. Easy stuff, Margaret. Are you ready?
Are you kidding? I'll crush it.
Okay, here it is.
Umm, it's an ankle. I can get this.
Time is running out Margaret.
I see it! I see it! A tiny fracture right here! Ha! I WIN!
Sorry Margaret. That's a normal variant, a vascular groove. The
ﬁlm was actually normal. We're sorry. No money for you!
You're NOT AS SMART AS A RADIOLOGIST!
This game show would have a small audience, but I think it would
be a blast. I've been told that our jobs are not as
difﬁcult as we think they are, but they are
inﬁnitely more difﬁcult than anyone else on
the planet imagines they are. Sometimes, I'm amazed we do as well
as we do.