Radiologists form an indispensable part of today’s medical practice. I have had nightmares when I was a houseman back in 1994 – having been tasked to request for scans and trace reports. It was pretty ‘bad’ back then as the scans were all hard copies and you could not see any images online. While I did my best scurrying around, I often landed up being scolded by both the radiologists & surgeon. It’s was always ‘no win’! (watch this parady!). It was just lousy. That’s the word – lousy.
Again, I digress. An illness can strip you of your identify as a doctor. Suddenly it’s you the doctor receiving and assimilating the bad news. From that aspect, I find it far worse as I myself often treat high risk patients where death is not an uncommon possibility. Now that the tables are turned, I suddenly feel vulnerable, isolated and trapped. Anticipating what’s going to be happening as the disease inevitably progresses and thinking about the symptoms I am going to experience is almost indescribable. I don’t think ‘normal’ patients (with no disrespect to them) without such medical training will feel what I do – the anticipation of what could possibly come next. Knowing the significance and prognosis of the next milestone ‘growth’ so to speak can be very depressing. And you usually get confirmation of ‘bad’ news after visiting your favourite radiologist for the scan!
Many doctors have written about their own ”bad” experiences as patients. For me, the opposite is true. I have to say my Oncologists and Radiologists have made things so much better than it otherwise would have been. I’ve been through tons of scans and some procedures – the para-clinical staff – radiographers and other related technicians have been excellent. Professional, helpful and importantly treating me well as a person who is ‘sick’ and not otherwise as a ‘patient’.
We often as doctors forget how daunting and difficult it is for patients to go through scans. Family members would have to take leave to accompany them, there is sometimes a lot of waiting – for the scan and results (especially so in busy public hospitals where waiting times are long). In itself, it is can be an extremely stressful event. When we don’t recognise this, we do fail in some ways as doctors in alleviating such stress on patients.
Back to what I am trying to say about my wonderfully dedicated radiologists….
So contrary what I might have expected (with no disrespect to those with poor experiences), my experience as a ‘patient’ thus far has been very positive. Credit has to go to my Oncologist and the several important Radiologists who have supported me so well thus far. They know who they are!
A big thank you. Watch the video for a laugh though.