Monday, November 4, 2013

Editorial. Interpreting Physicians Should Do A Better Job

Number one, I hate writing on a laptop.  The keys are small, and my fingers are big and bony.  Number two, I hate writing an editorial when I have not had coffee.  I hate editing my own words on a laptop.  Please forgive me my gentle readers.  What I am going to write is horror.  Do not eat before you read the following.

A patient presented to me for an echo, CIMT, Triple A screening, and a carotid U/S.  His symptoms included DM, and HTN, and mild obesity.  Typical patient.  He did not speak English, his grand daughter did so, and we go a few tidbits of information.  He said he had no problems.  I was there to screen him for underlying issues.  Usually i find no medical issues when I do these screenings. I noted this very kind gentlemen of Hispanic origin to be short of breath.  I applaud the physician for referring him for medical testing in the non-invasive manner.  I did the CIMT testing which was positive for PAD.  Bring in the cellos and tubas for the remarkable test. (Que the Orchestra).

I performed a standard TTE (Transthoracic echocardiogram) and found a 5.2 by 6.0 cm ascending aortic aneurysm.  I left the examination room to phone the doctor.  We spent the next 30 minutes getting the family to take him to a great hospital next door.  From what i have heard, this patient is doing well.  He went to surgery on MY CALL!  This should not happen!

Here is the horror:  Our interpreter has failed to provide a final interpretation of the echocardiogram.  His failure to provide a timely interpretation is unacceptable.  After many E-Mails, and phone calls, he has been unresponsive.  This should not happen.  I am a sonographer, not a physician.  And I am pissed off that this has happened.  The final report was posted at 13:36:45  Interesting.  He got the message while eating some very spicy food we think. No substantive evidence of course. Most pajama radiologists/cardiologists care less about the patients images they view.  They wake up and boot the computer and do thier thing, then go to bed.  I wish I could share the details.  Federal laws will not allow that. isn't that a shout!  Patient in surgery and out without a physicians interp?  How many of you sonographers deal with this?  Mark of Honor? or another lump to put in our backpacks as health care providers?  Really!  TJW

Comments are welcome.

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