Today I solved a great mystery. My solution was eloquent, simple and, dare I say, brilliant.
It was also a total waste of time.
As a radiologist in the 21st century, most of what I do is on computers. You would not believe how complex this system is. We have 3 major components that must talk with each other and they aren't even written in the same language. Our major order entry site is DOS-based, for crying out loud.
Most radiologists only want to diagnose diseases. Believe me, that's the best part of my job. I'm a little different in that I spend extra time figuring out how the backbone works. In my opinion, it's the only way to know how to fix a problem if something goes wrong. Most docs are happy to let professionals handle this part. The problem is that when I discover a new and compelling mystery, I attack it with the same vigor as a mass in the abdomen. I must find out where it came from and why.
Without going into too much detail, I'll tell you that several x-rays were being cancelled even though the x-rays were actually shot. This presents a problem because the system thinks it never happened and cancels my interpretation. The finished report never gets to the ordering doctor because it has no where to go. I found out that the orders were being cancelled by the pharmacy. Without going into too much detail, I reasoned that the pharmacist wasn't deliberately cancelling the exam, it was a glitch in the system and it was an easy fix.
The problem is that when I explained this to the folks that can fix it, they got very excited. "We can study this!" they cried. "By checking when the order was cancelled, we can figure out when it's happening and move to correct the source problem."
"No. No. No." I replied. "It's just a glitch. . ." But it was too late. A mission was given and they were on task.
I'm going back to diagnosing people. In the mean time, I'm calling the ordering doctor to apologize that she isn't getting formal results on the computer, but I'll tell her what she needs to know on the phone.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
There is no passion like that of a functionary for his function. - Georges Clemenceau