I bought a pocket ultrasound in 2011, determined to learn how to perform and interpret ultrasound at the bedside and thus transform my internal medicine practice. I bought it new, and it cost over $8,000. That was a staggering amount of money to spend on something I knew very little about. In 2015 after having performed many thousand ultrasound exams with my little GE Vscan with the phased array transducer, ...

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“Can you hear it?” she asked with a smile. The thin, pleasant lady seemed as struck by her murmur as I was. She was calm, perhaps amused by the clumsy second-year medical student listening to her heart. “Yes, yes I can,” I replied, barely concealing my excitement. We had just learned about the heart sounds in class. This was my first time hearing anything abnormal on a patient, though it was ...

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I feel privileged to be practicing medicine. Many people consider doctor careers and imagine how great it may be. Is it the right thing for you? Yes there are days of frustration, exhaustion, and utter defeat, but at the end of the day I home and know that I helped at least one person if not two from the 16 I meet. The fact that I alleviated one individual’s anxiety or ...

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Here's a question that has been debated for several years: Should radiologists talk to patients about their imaging results? Citing several issues, I came down solidly on the "no" side in a 2014 blog post. Two major radiology organizations have committees looking into the concept, and New York Times article said, "they hope to make their case [for it] by demonstrating how some radiologists ...

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Being a radiologist, I rarely speak to patients, but I was asked to counsel Mrs. Patel (not her real name), who was worried about the risks of radiation from cardiac calcium CT scan. Because of her risk factors for atherosclerosis, her cardiologist wanted her to take statins for primary prevention, but she was reluctant to start statins. They eventually reached a truce. If she had even a speck of calcium ...

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During breakfast with my father over the holidays, a friend of his asked me what kind of doctor I am. “I’m a radiologist,” I answered. I was met with a puzzled expression and a reply of “Oh, I thought you were a doctor doctor.” I smiled and returned to my banana. Most radiologists, especially those like me who are not physician offspring, are faced with this sort of discourse at least once. ...

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“Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave, and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way.” - Alice Childress, American playwright, actor, author (1912-1994) I am awakened in the wee hours by the sound of rain.  Ordinarily I would return to bed in hope of stealing more sleep from night, but this particular day I know I have to rise at 4:30 ...

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It was 1989. While alternating between NCAA basketball tournament games on broadcast television, reruns of an older version of the game show Wipeout on cable, and the 8-bit Nintendo game Top Gun, a child sat in a hospital bed in the middle of rural America wondering why he was there. All he knew was that he had a sharp pain in the left side of his chest and that couldn't ...

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evolution-of-radiology-775 James Chang is a radiologist and author of Oh Doctor, The Places You Will Go… He blogs at Poor MD and can be reached on Facebook.

In 2014, a jury in Massachusetts awarded $16.7 million in damages to the daughter of a Bostonian lady who died from lung cancer at 47 for a missed cancer on a chest X-ray. The verdict reminds me of the words of John Bradford, a heretic who was burned at the stake: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Many radiologists will sympathize with both the patient ...

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