endless loop
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BOSTON, MA – The ICU team of a local area hospital had struggled for days with an increasingly slow EMR for one particular patient.

endless loop
“Correlate with radiology…correlate with pathology…correlate with… Escher must have been a pathologist or radiologist”

“At first I thought it was just temporary, but it just kept getting slower and slower and we couldn’t figure out why,” recalled one particularly exasperated intern.  “Finally, one of the medical students found a gigantic series of two-hundred Pathology and Radiology reports issued within a span of 10 days.  We were stunned.  I mean, we never expected to find so many reports, though admittedly we don’t really notice them.”

Accounts state that the EMR took 40 minutes to load completely, during which even more reports were issued.  The medical student could not be reached for comment, as a manual disimpaction on a constipated patient was imminent.

Actual reading of the records revealed an initial Pathology report strongly recommending correlation with Radiology findings, suggesting that was where the answers would be.  In an uncharacteristically swift response, Radiology issued a final read just 12 hours later, recommending correlation with Pathology findings and assuring readers that was where the truth lay.

Not to be outdone, Pathology expedited a follow-up report in record-time just 5 days later, reiterating the importance of correlation with Radiology for completeness.  Radiology responded in-kind just 10 hours later.  The following intervals between reports grew shorter and shorter, with new reports now being issued every 10 minutes.

“I had no idea Pathology even wrote reports, or that Radiology actually read other reports!” exclaimed the ICU attending.  She later disclosed, “I want to ask them what’s actually going on, but I’m scared that they’ll recommend clinical correlation next… then I’m just hosed.”

It is unclear what will happen when the report-issuing ultimately synchronizes.  Mathematical models predict this event within 24 hours.

Attempts to reach Pathology for answers were unsuccessful as the basement level is, according to one resident, “really creepy and gross.”  Attempts to reach Radiology were equally as unsuccessful as the reading room is, according to another resident, “really far away and I don’t really feel like going there.”

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