This week's theme is "reflections on the way life used to be".
Along these lines, I used to carry a stethoscope, but gave it up long ago for the rock star lifestyle of an academic radiologist. My Grand Rounds contribution, Just Say No to Stethoscopes, has more to say on why this is a Good Thing.
Rats of the Middle Ages, move over -- there's a new disease vector in town: health-care workers, and they're packing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in their stethoscopes.
This story crawled out into the TV news recently, in reaction to a recent paper in Prehospital Emergency Care.
In a study of emergency medical services providers, 50 stethoscopes were cultured, and 16 (32%) grew MRSA. Oddly enough, 32% of the same providers had no clue when they had last cleaned their stethoscopes. Coincidence, or satanic confluence?
This isn't a new idea. My cursory search of PubMed turned up a number of other articles on the same topic, including a 1995 study showing that 89% of the stethoscopes carried by ER workers were contaminated with staphylococcus. What's new is that this ubiquitous staph is lately more and more likely to be the more dangerous MRSA variety.
However, if you are going to catch a disease because you were auscultated, touched or sneezed on by a physician, chances are really, really good that it won't be from a radiologist. I'm proud to say that my specialty is leading the fight against this scourge. While the internists are obsessively scrubbing their stethoscopes between patients, we have an far more effective plan: we don't even know where our stethoscopes are.
We invite other physicians to join our crusade -- "Just Say No!" -- to stethoscopes.
What does a radiologist do? Who are these rarely glimpsed and mysterious figures that float through the background of medical care?
Why would someone want to spend all of that time in medical school learning to be a Real Doctor™, and then throw it all away by becoming a radiologist?
Welcome to Not Totally Rad.
As the masthead suggests, most, but not all, of the topics discussed here will have something to do with radiology, medical imaging and imagers. Hopefully light will be shed on these matters, even if it's invisible to the naked eye.
The Samurai Radiologist has spent more than 20 years as a diagnostic radiologist, most of them professing at various university medical centers.
The "samurai" part is a nod to the late, great John Belushi, whose samurai skits on Saturday Night Live featured a samurai with a day job in some other field, such as dry-cleaning or a delicatessen. The plot usually gave him some hilarious job-related excuse to use his sword.
Since much of medical imaging (e.g. CT and MR) involves digital "cuts" through the body in various planes, I always hoped to someday see him portray a "samurai radiologist". I guess I'll just have to play that role myself.