Thursday, January 24, 2008

The case of the missing x-rays

VoU2 underwent an unnecessary CT-scan yesterday. Why unnecessary? Because it could have been avoided if VoU2's x-rays -- if all the clinic's x-rays -- hadn't disappeared.

After a hard fall down the stairs, VoU2 was sent for a shoulder x-ray, and an astute radiologist noticed something amiss. The conversation with VoU2's regular physician then went something like this:

"You have spots on your lung."

"I know. They've been there for years. I had TB as a child."

"These spots aren't consistent with TB."

"Can't you compare them to the chest x-ray I had a couple of years ago? Then we would know if they're the same-old, or something new."

"Well, er..."

Funny thing: When this clinic switched medical record providers a while back, patients' x-rays disappeared. All of them. Want to compare your 2008 lungs to your 2006 lungs? Tough luck.

This is a large clinic. If I recall correctly, Utah law requires x-rays to be retained for several years after a patient's last care. There are good reasons for that. For you money types, it avoids unnecessary expense. For you compassionate types, it avoids unnecessary stress. We could have had the answer days ago, but for now, we wait.

1 comment:

Salt H2O said...

7 years, they're supose to keep the x-rays for 7 years. You can sue. Seriously.

I sell Digital X Ray for a living, and this is one of the key selling points- with digital xrays there is no film to lose, in addition you can email the x-rays to referring physcians and the likes.

But I'm serious about that whole lawsuit bit, if it ends up affecting your wife's health, you may have a case.