HELENA, MT – Hospital workers were baffled when one Rebecca Atherton, 28, arrived from her primary care office today with a complaint of chest pain. This complaint led to a chest X-ray in the office and a subsequent referral to the hospital. The confusion began when Ms. Atherton presented her X-ray to the hospital residents.
Instead Ms. Atherton handed them a manila envelope containing a large, flat black sheet of plastic. “Naturally we tried to connect it to the computer, but we were unable to locate a USB port and it wouldn’t fit in the CD drive, despite the intern’s best attempts.”
Several other doctors, nurses, X-ray techs, and even a few patients gathered around the object, trying to access the files within. “We needed to unlock the information that was sent to us, HIPAA be damned,” one RN explained. A breakthrough occurred when a COPD patient noticed the image of a human ribcage as the item passed in front of a desk light.
“With the light behind it, we made out an image of a chest X-ray. This made us think the object was some new, super-light tablet, but we couldn’t access the brightness, zoom, or measurement functions.” An IT tech dropped by but was “completely unfamiliar with the technology” and told us to submit a ticket, even thought he was physically right there in the ER.
Growing increasingly desperate the ER placed several calls to the primary care provider’s office. As it was past 3:00 p.m. and the office had run out of Tostitos, no one was surprised when these attempts to reach them failed. Finally an ER attending folded the object into a small square and crammed it into the floppy drive of a PC. This was met with grinding noises, smoke, attempts to explain what a “floppy disk” was to everyone under the age of 27, and abject failure on all fronts.
During this entire charade, Ms. Atherton continued to suffer from her persistent chest pain. Having exhausted their options with the original X-ray format, the ER reflexively ordered a CT chest/abdomen/pelvis. The read showed a small spontaneous apical pneumothorax, a possible ileus, and questionable small ovarian and renal cysts. Citing the need for “clinical correlation,” STAT consults were placed to cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, OB/GYN, urology, and nephrology.
The investigation into Ms. Atherton’s original X-ray format is ongoing, but hospital officials are not hopeful. If you or anybody else you know could decipher this mystery, please contact 1-8GO-MERBLOG.