Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chest film

A conversion I had during residency:

Resident: "Do you notice anything wrong with this chest film?"

Me: "Um, there's a GIGANTIC effusion on the left side?"

Resident: "Yeah, obviously. But what else?"

Me: "I'm assuming it's what that arrow on the right is pointing to."

Resident: "Yes."

Me: (squinting) "Oh, it's a pneumothorax, right?"

Resident: "Yeah, I mean... would you have seen that? It's practically invisible. That's why I could never be a radiologist."

Me: "Well, you might notice it if you were looking for it. What was the film done to look for?"

Resident: "Pneumo."

Me: "See, there you go."

Resident: "Do you want to hear a terrible story? The team tapped this patient's lungs to try to get at that effusion. But they tapped the wrong side. So not only is there still a huge effusion, but now the patient has a pneumo on the other side."

Me: "Haha... that's funny. Well no, it's not really funny. But it's... well, it's ironic."


  1. Wow, that's not funny at all.

    1. Really? Because I found it kind of hilarious.
      Wouldn't want to be the patient though.

    2. To any normal person...not funny at all. To me and every other medical person out there, it's funny. And sad. But mostly funny.

  2. Yeah, that's the sad part about today's doctors. They find things that are not funny to regular people funny because they are so disconnected from the patient. I get it that you have to detach a little, but that's not so that you can laugh behind patient's back. It's funny unless it's happening to me rings a big bell.

    1. I think you have to find that kind of thing funny.

      If you sympathise you everything you come across in medical training, you are going to have a very sad time.

  3. I think I said about eighteen times "RIGHT side. Yes. Right. Please drain it. From the right side. It's on the right. If you check the X-ray, you can see the effusion on the right side so you can just go ahead and drain it on the right."

    People who criticize (aka one of the Anonymouses up there) would die in medicine. Literally. You need a sense of humour. The funniest docs are in PICUs because otherwise you literally go crazy. The stuff I find funny may seem absurd to some, but our days get tough. If I can't laugh about it, I can only jump off a bridge. It's not cool to criticize. We're intelligent humans and are well aware that our sense of humour is bizarre to outsiders. But it's a necessity for retention of sanity.

  4. Like I said, I get that you need it so survive and what not but when you start treating patients like crap because you no longer connect with them, that's not right.