Livin' on the MDedge

Prophylactic rudeness, surgical barbecue, and MRI-ectomy


Stay rude, stay alive

Business man making face at co-worker Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

Middle fingers up! Did you know there’s a biological theory that proposes rudeness as a mechanism for health?

The theory proposes that the single most important factor of determining human behavior is disease. Where disease flourishes, humans are meaner to strangers. This is a self-preservation tactic – strangers could carry sickness, so it’s best to steer clear. As people continue to avoid strangers (and potential new diseases), larger divides develop between language and culture.

Researchers looked at countries and cultures around the world and found that their theory held true: Locations that had less disease tended to have less diversity in language and culture, while higher disease rates coincided with more cultural diversity.

Can disease really be the sole factor for all human behavior, however? Tough to say, but in the meantime we’ll endorse never talking to strangers – just in case.

Facebook fires

Angry man reading a text message on his smartphone blowing steam coming out of his ears SIphotography/iStock/Getty Images Plus

If you’re a health care provider, you’ve probably had a difficult patient experience or two … or 7,000. In the olden days before the Internet, perhaps you turned to a trusted friend to vent your frustrations. Maybe you were an avid journaler, furiously sharing your problems with the page. With the advent of social media, however, you can publicly exorcise your doctor demons for your whole network to share!

In case you weren’t sure, this is a terrible idea – and now there are the data to prove it.

Participants in a recent study rated (fake) Facebook profiles of medical professionals who posted comments about their workday. Some comments were ambiguous, such as, “Started with new electronic patient charts today ... interesting experience for sure.” Other comments were blatantly frustrated, saying things like “What is it with some people?? I know I only went through 9 years of university ... but really, I know what I’m talking about ... yeesh!!!”

Unsurprisingly, the Facebook profiles with the obviously frustrated comments were rated “significantly less credible” than profiles with ambiguous comments, and they negatively affected willingness to become a patient of the fake doctor.

All this to say, when you get the urge to angrily post on Facebook about that overprotective parent in your office, perhaps turn to your diary instead.

Saying goodbye to a 12,000-lb friend

Lots of physicians have ordered MRI scans for their patients, but how many have performed an MRI-ectomy?

What? No, no, NO! We’re not talking about removing one from a patient! How would that even work? You do know that the patient goes inside the machine, right?

Okay, let’s try again.

How do you remove an MRI machine from a medical center? Verrrry carefully … with a forklift … after you’ve cut a big hole in the side of the building. That’s what they did at OSF HealthCare’s Center for Health – Glen Park in Peoria, Ill., on June 10. They had a party first, though, and someone brought one of those giant cookies, which said, “We will miss you, Open MRI,” the Pekin Daily Times reported.

Photos were taken, cookie was eaten, and tears were shed. “It’s definitely kind of bittersweet that it’s going away,” said Jamie White, manager of CT and MRI outpatient diagnostics.

On the day of the actual removal, a small crowd gathered outside to watch the experts who were brought in to extract the 6-ton machine. “I just took it off life support,” said Eddie Rivera, an engineer with ATI-Advanced Technologies, Miami, when he disconnected the electricity.

We’re tearing up a bit ourselves, actually, but there is some good news. The machine is not headed to that big imaging center in the sky just yet. Like the saying goes: Old MRIs never die, they just get hauled off to Arizona for refurbishment.

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