Des Moines, IA – A pathologist for several years, Dr. Boe Beaton thought that he had seen everything a pathologist can see until he got a patient complaint after a autopsy.
“It was a very straightforward case, 57 yr old male deceased from an accidental drowning in Gray’s Lake” Dr. Beaton explained. “There was water in the lungs an stomach, cerebral edema, bloody froth in the airway and mastoid hemorrhage. All the classic findings of a drowning. The whole autopsy took me less time than my drive to Wellman’s pub for lunch that day. Never would have guessed that would be my first patient complaint.”
The complaint arrived at Des Moines General’s Pathology Department in a stamped envelope with the deceased’s former home address.
The complaint read “Terrible gurney-side manner. Never introduced himself to me, just started cutting and sectioning. Very cold hands. Complete lack of explanation of the autopsy procedure, it’s risks, benefits, and alternatives. Worst experience I have had with a pathologist in my afterlife!”
It is unclear if the deceased sent the letter while at the Des Moines General Morgue or while in the anatomy department at Des Moines University. No matter where it came from, it is the most exciting thing to happen in the pathology world since Formalin.
“I’ve learned a lot from this whole experience, I think we all have” a reflective Dr. Beaton told Gomerblog. “I guess I need to introduce myself and be polite even to patients with longstanding asystole. I guess we have to consent them somehow, no one knows what this means for the future. Pathologists are no longer immune from cranky patients, next they’re going to make me stop whistling while I work. Nothing is sacred anymore.”