Shunting That Entitlement Away

, , , , , | Healthy | April 5, 2019

(My mom is an x-ray tech at a world-renowned children’s hospital. She helped pioneer a number of techniques now commonly used today, but the hospital’s main focus is on the patient’s overall welfare. This involves things like minimizing the number of x-ray frames taken to cut down on radiation exposure, cropping x-rays as tightly as they can to cut down on radiation scatter, etc. Most doctors treat the techs well and make sure they have all the necessary information, but one new doctor doesn’t seem to get how things work at this hospital.)

Doctor: “I need a head x-ray on this patient. Forward facing.”

Mom: “Great. What am I looking for?”

Doctor: “You don’t get to ask questions. I tell you what frames to take, and you take them. Me: doctor! You: tech! You don’t talk to me!”

Mom: *doesn’t say a word, just smiles politely and goes to take the x-ray*

(As per the hospital’s policy, she narrows the field as small as she possibly can, so literally only the skull itself is in the path of the radiation. The kid has a full head of curly hair, by the way. After the films are developed and sent up, the doctor comes storming down, furious.)

Doctor: “How could you not get a picture of his shunt?!”

Mom: “What shunt?”

Doctor: “The one in his skull! The whole reason for wanting to x-ray him in the first place!”

Mom: “Well, maybe, if you’d told me why you needed the x-ray, I would have focused on that area. Instead, you just told me to shut up and take the x-ray, which I did exactly according to hospital policy. The kid has a ton of hair; there’s no way to see the shunt, and no one told me he had one, nor was it included in the written orders. If you want an x-ray of something specific, you need to specify!”

Doctor: *glares, and then stomps off to tattle to the head of Radiology, who reads him the riot act for being so rude to a tech*

(Mom did retake the film, this time focusing strictly on the shunt and its surrounding area. She felt very bad that the kid was being exposed to a second dose of radiation, however small, though.)

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