Apology for Nipple Reading

This is what I love about how medicine is being practiced today, as compared to 50 years ago, when this never would have happened. I mean this communication never would have happened because I never would have been privy to the radiologist report. Today, as patients we can be more involved in our own care. But, we do need to be knowledgeable about our bodies and not be lazy by leaving it all up to the medical personnel. Just remember they are human beings, too.

My doctor forwarded on my message to the radiologist where I asked that my xray be reinterpreted and compared to a previous CT scan which shows a nodule in my lung, NOT a prominent nipple.

This is what the original reading said:

PA and lateral chest radiographs are provided.  Well-defined rounded opacity projecting over the right lower lung zone probably represents prominent nipple shadow.  This appears asymmetric compared with the left although, the patient is rotated in position.  

Repeat radiographs with nipple markers in place should be considered for confirmation.  

No focal consolidation or pleural effusion is seen.  Cardiomediastinal silhouette is within normal limits.  No acute bony abnormality is seen.

Mild multilevel thoracic spondylosis is noted.

My Garden Pathway ~ I didn't notice the bird when taking picture!
So, here is the response to my request for a second reading of the "nipple" xray. It was a personal message written to me by the radiologist:

I understand your frustration and I apologize for the error. Unfortunately we have a slight glitch in the PACS system since we have upgraded our system. Patients now have new medical record numbers so the prior studies are no longer loaded automatically. 

The technologist who performed your xray forgot to merge your file so, this was the only image available to me when I read the exam. And, there was no other history than "Cough". If I knew the history of chondrosarcoma, the read would have been very different (see my read on your prior CXR). Additionally, the nodule is not seen on the lateral view because you were slightly rotated. Anyhow, I addended the report after you notified me of the prior exams and I will make sure your file is merged appropriately. 

Again, I apologize and I feel horrible that your faith in physicians has been compromised. But, technical errors do occur in these upgrades and we are doing everything we can to try to avoid this situation in the future.

Now, one might say, oh that's not a good enough excuse. But, I disagree. I know the clinic has been going through computer upgrades to their system. This is no easy job because the clinic is associated with forty seven more clinics. This upgrade is BIG. I can understand how what the radiologist relates in her email to me.

What does bother me is that the tech is the one who "forgot" to merge my file. I remember how sullen and unfriendly she was. When I run into someone like that I give them the benefit of the doubt. I make an effort to make friendly small talk so hopefully it might make a difference in an otherwise not so great day. Of course, I cannot rescue the world, or make xray technicians smile, if that's not going to happen. Life is a two way street. I often find that when dealing with others, if I am kindly, polite and caring, others will behave similarly. So why not make the effort to help make someone else's day a little brighter?

Still, Ms. Xray Technician was sullen and mechanical in her dealings with me. Seemed like maybe she was just totally out of energy and patience. It was late in the day, after all. So I was happy to get out of there as soon as possible. Still I can't complain. She did, at least, let me see the xray when done, but that's the only thing I can give her.

I wrote a message back to the Radiologist who apologized. I will share that tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1/14/2012

    So glad you got quite a sincere apology. I hope that helps to restore your faith in your physician. The xray tech probably was at the end of a trying, hard day and you, unfortunately, were not treated with the respect and kindness that you deserved to be treated with. I know with 12 hour shifts, by the end of the shift I could barely drive home. They were exhausting days and I think they should be outlawed! But, I am impressed with the nice note your doctor wrote to you. Also, LOVE your garden pathway picture. It looks like the path to paradise!! Do you have any birds of paradise in your garden? I just love them. Hang in there. Thoughts are with you!


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