Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The ultraSound and the Fury

Ethan had a routine kidney ultrasound yesterday. He has them every few months to make sure his Topamax isn't turning his kidneys into tiny bags of rocks.

Good news: no kidney stones.

Bad news: my faith in the medical field is at an all-time low.

Ethan's ultrasound tech was a young Indian woman. I mention that she was Indian - not because her race has any relevance on her abilities -because she had a very thick accent. So thick, that we had to wonder if she understood what we were saying at all.

When we arrived, she started talking to Ethan. This is a regular practice for people who work with children. Don't talk through the parents, have respect for the child and deal with them directly. It makes sense. The only thing is, Ethan doesn't talk back or interact in any way, even with us. He doesn't really know you're there. But we appreciate the effort, and we'd never ask someone to ignore him. So we let her try to talk to him.

When she started waving Hello in his face and saying he looked sleepy, we felt it necessary to explain. Jete took the reins. "He's legally blind." She just said, "Ohhhhh." Then she grabbed a sheet of colorful stickers off the counter. "He like sticker? E-than! Sticker?"

Maybe she didn't understand the "legally" part? Jete tried again. "Well, he's BLIND, so he can't see them." She said, "Ohhhh" again. She brought them closer to him. "You want sticker Ethan?" I just firmly said NO, and she put them on the counter.

She went in the other room while we took Ethan's shirt off and Jete and I gave each other the biggest eye roll possible.

When she put the gel on his side, Ethan let out a little gasp. She said, "O-kay. I'm not hurting you." Jete used this as an opportunity to help her understand again. "Since he can't see, everything is a surprise." She laughed. "Ohhhh! That make it easy for me!" Jete and I looked at each other. HUH?

She did the fastest ultrasound we've ever had and pronounced - in the middle of it - that everything was normal. Then she left the room to, I assume, go check with her superiors that everything really was normal. We've never had an ultrasound tech give us any results before checking with the other doctors.

While she was gone, I showed Jete a book I had noticed on the chair next to me: a study guide for the ultrasound tech exam. Ahhhh.

Just a note to all you students out there: we know you're students. We know you have to learn by doing, and we know our routine exams are probably a good opportunity for that. But don't flaunt your inexperience in our faces while confidently asserting a diagnosis you haven't even verified yet. And maybe leave the book in your bag next time?

She returned and said, yes, everything was fine. We put Ethan back in his stroller. As we packed up, she told us how handsome he was. We thanked her. Then she waved rapidly in front of Ethan's face again. "Bye-bye E-than!" We smiled tight smiles and said goodbye. We couldn't bother to try to explain again.

I guess they didn't get to that chapter yet.

4 comments:

Kelly said...

OK, so yeah, we know they need to learn by doing, but I'm really getting tired of students. Our Children's Hospital is also a teaching hospital and we're inundated with students. Who go, "So, can you show me what she does when she has a seizure?" As if I don't know what a Grand Mal looks like,(after 5 years and more than I can count) and I have to demonstrate so they can tell if I know what I'm talking about. Why do I feel like the teacher, when I'm calling them "Doctor"? I've had to explain Michaela's various syndromes to more residents than I can remember, while they're furiously scribbling, because they've never heard of it. "Um, Hello? Aren't you supposed to be a neurologist, Doctor??"

Check out this blog....she wrote a lot about when she was a med student (to be a ped neuro), and even wrote comic strips about it. Pretty funny stuff from the "other side". theunderweardrawer.blogspot.com

Mete said...

Oh, my favorite is when I tell them he has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and they say, "Can you spell that?" I understand it is pretty rare, but LOOK IT UP ON HIS CHART.

That's what kills me. All this information is right there in his chart. Someone stealing his identity would know more about him than supposed "doctors" who are treating him. If you're going to take my 30 dollar copay and hundreds from the insurance company for a 10 minute visit, the least you can do is take five minutes to learn about my child.

I'll have to check that site out, she seems pretty funny.

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