Oct 24, 2013

Adventures in Cytopathology

Me (to clinician): "We have adequacy.  I've got abundant follicular epithelium, macrophages, and colloid."
Patient: "And in English, that means..."

Me (in other room): "Yes, as you suspected, this is consistent with metastatic disease from her earlier lesion."
Rads tech (from other room): "Ma'am, you're hypertensive?"
Patient (cheerfully): Yup!  But on a list of two things, that's not going to be the one that kills me.

Clinician: "Whadda you see?  What do you see??"
Me: "The technician staining my slide."

Clinician (leaning on his elbows on the counter next to me about six inches from my face): "Now, don't let me make you nervous."

Clinician: "Well?  Do we have enough?"
Me:  "We have adequacy."
Clinician: "Is it cancer?"
Me:  "It's suspicious.  I haven't seen enough of the groups my attending saw to tip the scales."
Clinician: "Can you tell me what it is?"
Me: "It's suspicious."
Clinician: "If you tell me that it's cancer, we can stop the procedure.  Otherwise we're going to have to go in and get a biopsy."
Me (sweating): "I can't call it cancer at this point."
Clinician: "Well, what would your attending think?"
Me: "Sir, if I knew what my attending thought, I'd be an attending."


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Carolyn Taylor said...

Great post, really needed to be said for a long time now.

Fundamentals of Pathology 2014