I am not a pediatrician

I was trying to get out of the hospital on time, when I was cornered by an irate family member of one of my patients. The family member was very angry that I'd ordered so many tests, and wanted me to cancel them. Specifically, the problematic test was an ultrasound of the lower extremity for DVT. One had been done only a few days ago at another facility.

I tried to reason with the family member. We didn't have the report. Ultrasonography is very technician dependent. The swelling in the leg had worsened, and was unilateral. There was significant concern of DVT. Still, the family member would have none of it, and accused me of wasting the patient's money ordering useless tests. It was like being a pediatrician, trying to reason with parents.

I am not one to get into an argument with patients' family. I canceled the test and walked away. No point in getting angry or raising my voice. And undoubtedly, some of you are saying, "Well, it WAS a useless test! You had an ultrasound done only a few days ago!" I don't order useless tests. I don't even order daily labs. I am a minimalist. But I felt very uncomfortable with a worsening extremity, and a strong clinical suspicion of DVT. But now we won't know.

I'm about to go to bed, but I can guarantee you that I'll be sleeping like a baby, because if my patient has a DVT, it ain't on me.

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