Are You an AED Sufferer?

April 15, 2016
Eric Postal, MD

Radiologists, watch out for these symptoms. Part 2 of 2.

This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Read part 1.

As mentioned in last week’s column, I’ve sometimes wondered whether, as with a myriad of other pathological conditions (hyper/hypo-whatever), Attention Deficit might have an opposite number, equally abnormal in its own way.

Potentially adaptive in certain circumstances, even egosyntonic (neat psych term, huh? Means something not recognized as a problem by the afflicter)…such as for a radiologist who prides himself on being a focused, hardworking soul capable of staying on task for long hours of plowing through worklists.

Such thinking, however, runs the risk of missing out on all sorts of goodies our society loves to hand out to the impaired, disabled, or otherwise disadvantaged. For those thinking it might be gauche to try claiming one’s positive traits as negatives, I refer you to Charlize Theron’s recent gripe about being too physically appealing. If a rich showbiz celeb can get away with it, surely we ugly slobs who hide in dark reading rooms should be allowed.

So, how might we go about validating our Attention Excess Disorder? I had a look at the DSM-V criteria for ADD, and I think a bunch of us probably qualify for the opposite extremes:

Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in work. As opposed, say, to meticulously scrutinizing dozens, if not hundreds, of images per study, commenting on every little pixel that looks like it might be out of place, and fretting all the while about whether a peer might subsequently disagree with our interpretations, bringing our .01% QA error rate up to a staggering .02.

Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks. One might consider us abnormal for being able to focus on pan scans for cancer follow-up or multi-trauma despite an endless parade of reading room visitors and phone calls from referrers, techs, the front desk, colleagues feeling like chewing the fat, etc.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"47725","attributes":{"alt":"Productive radiologist","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_465367755677","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"5645","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 209px; width: 190px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"©Max Griboedov/","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish duties in the work place. Versus routinely working through lunch, staying late, and/or coming in on days off because of an unquestioning belief that the work must get done. (Significant others, family, and friends might be particularly painfully aware of this aspect of Attention Excess.)

Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities (eg, difficulty managing sequential tasks; difficulty keeping materials and belongings in order; messy, disorganized work; poor time management; fails to meet deadlines). The opposite number being such a keen desire to make things more functional and efficient that the rad persistently takes it upon his or herself to organize and restructure the workings of the office or department around him…despite strong past precedent that he might just as effectively go tilt at some windmills.

Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected (eg, leaves his or her place in the office or other workplace.) I daresay it might be considered an abnormality to willingly remain seated for 8, 10, 12 hours at a workstation aside from one or two trips to the lavvy. Simply having a passing notion of using a Texas catheter to cut down on bathroom breaks should probably be diagnostic of AED.

Often talks excessively. As opposed to mutely reviewing images, taking measurements, reading prior reports for minutes on end…and then, having synthesized this massive volume of information, clicking on a voice recognition macro rather than dictate the words “Normal study.”

Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed. Instead, routinely agonizing about having no real answers, indeed not having been asked a question in the first place (reason for exam: “R/O pain”). Offering a differential-more than one potential answer to a hypothetical question-and even then fretting about which possibility to offer first. Minutes or hours later, having an “on second thought” moment (or third, or fourth), and compulsively adding addenda.

Often interrupts or intrudes on others. Preferentially seeks out reading rooms as far from the rest of humanity as possible, and cringes when visitors show up, even if only virtually by phone or instant message. Fantasizes about locking/barricading the door or-oops!-accidentally turning off the phone’s ringer.

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