April 1997

A Good Day in Radiation Oncology

By Michael J. Katin, MD

With reference to landing an airplane, it can be said that any that you can walk away from was a good one. Recently, it appears that the same can be said about a typical day in the practice of radiation oncology. With the increasing stress in the average practice, certain characteristics can be identified that correlate with tolerability:

1. The referring physician has already told the diagnosis to the patient.

2. All of the patient's relatives live locally and communicate with each other.

3. No calls from a hospital administrator who wants to "help your practice."

4. The hospital consultation written at 3 pm is actually called to you as early as 5 pm, before you've already gone to the other side of town.

5. The drug rep who drops in while you're two hours behind is bring samples of something you actually use.

6. The blocks that were mounted wrong cover the target volume better than what you drew.

7. The surgeon who left multiple positive margins didn't tell the patient he "got it all."

8. Only 10% of the patients today came in with internet material.

9. The error in the monitor units was found earlier than the next-to-last treatment.

10. No subpoenas.

email: mkatin@radiotherapy.com