As you might expect, peak sports season during the school year also means one of the busiest times for radiology. Between fractures, contusions, and concussions, we remain very active all season long. To add to the hectic situation, one of the scariest calls you can receive from your child’s daycare center or at-home nanny is that there’s been an accident. What follows is my personal experience with my child’s x-rays and broken bone.
It was a normal busy Wednesday afternoon and there were a lot of x-rays studies to read from the clinics. Later that afternoon, I got a call from my nanny about my child. She had just picked up my 10-year-old son from his school; he was experiencing elbow pain after he slipped off of the slide on the school playground. He usually does not complain about small injuries, so my gut feeling was that he might have broken his elbow. Falling off a slide on the playground is a very common history seen on x-ray reports.
They rushed to the emergency room here at Cincinnati Children’s and were directed to the urgent care center. The process was well organized and my son took his elbow x-ray as predicted. Even though it was less than 5 minutes to generate an image and send it to the reading radiologist’s computer, as a mother it felt like an eternity. My heart was racing and I could not calm down. Being the mother of the patient, I could not look at his x-ray images, so one of my colleagues had to read the exam. His final diagnosis was an avulsion fracture of the elbow. The orthopedic surgeon sent him to get an elbow cast to be worn for several weeks. Although I felt really badly that my son had to go through any pain, he was super excited to have his first cast. He was thrilled to be able to design it and choose the colors.
After a long day of work and an evening in the urgent care, my son quickly fell asleep in the car on the drive home and I felt equally as exhausted. It was emotionally taxing to try and balance being a mother and a radiologist, but because of this personal situation, I was able to step into my patients’ shoes and experience radiology from the other side of the table. Since then, I always think of my personal experience when dealing with x-rays and through this private situation I have been able to grow as a doctor. Now I’ve actually lived the full story behind the x-ray of a broken bone.
Contributed by Dr. Hee H. Kim and edited by Tony Dandino, (RT-MRI).