Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Haunting

I'm up earlier than needs be because of a nightmare.  I was again working in the basement X-ray department of the old Southern Pacific Hospital on Fell and Baker, back after a long absence because I needed extra money, and every time I went to the files behind me for a returning patient's file number, I was finding misfiled flash cards,* becoming more and more alarmed and upset until I was tossing and turning in bed.  Techs I knew in 1965, appeared, but the relief clerk I was explaining the problem to was a young guy who actually works in the office at USF now.
 
 The radiologists were from every era, but the rooms, and the entry hall where my desk was stuck, were from that old hospital.  I went in the back to find an empty file drawer to use to reorganize the misfiled cards I'd been pulling---by this time a few hundred---and ran into Livia, the doctors' secretary at Children's Radiology Dept. (from my years there in the 70s, and who is now a fellow student at the Fromm) and that's when I started telling others about the problem of returning patients not having had their exams compared, which is of extreme importance for discovery, diagnosis and staging.  And there were several other stories interwoven involving other clerks and techs, and candy and toys stashed in file drawers, but all the people popping in and out were from those 13 years in the two X-ray departments.  When I finally woke myself up, one of the radiologists was sitting with me, growing more and more concerned about the terrible consequences he could foresee.

A variation of this actually happened in both departments and everywhere I ever worked.  I was always uncovering embezzlements and hidden horrors like that.

*a "flash card" is the patient information and exam date, typed on a 2" x 3" card, and was used to transfer the information onto the film in the darkroom.  They were the actual file card at Children's, but as I can see in this picture, the date was added to a larger file card at the railroad hospital.  Digital files mostly took care of that, but typos and misspellings cause electronic "misfiles" just as easily.

1 comment:

page132 said...

what a beauty! I remember helping you file....