The Wise Old Professor of Radiology (the WOPR) is a mysterious being who can be found wandering through the hospital at almost any hour of the day or night. No one knows much about him. Some say that he was the head radiologist in a famous hospital many years ago. A few say that they visit him regularly in his office in the basement, in a room where they used to store paper records before they were all computerized. Many others claim he doesn’t exist at all.
I happen to be one of those who visit him regularly. He speaks his mind and when he gets excited, which is often, he can be downright rude. It isn’t always fun, but you always learn something when you spend time talking to the WOPR. Sometimes the WOPR learns something in return.
The last time I was in his office, the WOPR started off with, “It says on your badge that you’re a pediatric radiologist. What’s a pediatric radiologist anyway?”
“Well,” I said, “a pediatric radiologist is a radiologist who specializes in children.”
“I know THAT,” said the WOPR, “but what makes him a pediatric radiologist?”
“OK, WOPR, a pediatric radiologist attends four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of internship, four years of radiology residency and…”
“My, my,” interrupted the WOPR, “by then he is already a fully qualified radiologist. He’s spent thirteen years learning his trade! That should be enough for anyone!” (The WOPR has a terribly dated habit of only using “he” when talking about radiologists. When I’m with him I am always certain to switch up the use of “he” and “she” to make the point; balance is important.)
“Well, WOPR, I agree it’s a lot of schooling, but she then spends another one or two years training specifically in pediatric radiology.”
“Why would he do that?” asked the WOPR.
“Because children aren’t exactly just ‘little adults,’ WOPR. They have different diseases and they respond differently to being sick. There are even special techniques that reduce the radiation dose of specific exams and get the best pictures of children from newborns to teenagers. These techniques would not have as great of an effect on adults. Also, the little ones can’t always tell you what’s going on or when something hurts. Helping their families to understand what’s going on and to deal with their child’s illness can be as important as taking care of the child.”
“Sounds like a lot of extra work to me,” the WOPR grumbled.
“True,” I responded, “but it’s as rewarding as can be and more than worth the extra work!”
“So YOU say,” said the WOPR.
“Yes WOPR, so I say. Me and about 1,000 other pediatric radiologists in the US.”
“One thousand people doesn’t seem like much,” the WOPR mumbled. “Especially when there are about 34,000 radiologists in the US total.”
“True,” I agreed again, “and when you stop to think about that, it really highlights how lucky we are to have thirty-five of the best pediatric radiologists there are working here, at Cincinnati Children’s.”
“I knew you’d get in a plug for Cincinnati Children’s somehow, but that aside, maybe you’re right. I guess we are pretty lucky for that.” From the WOPR, that’s about as big a compliment as you’ll ever get.
If you have questions or comments that you’d like to send to the WOPR, let us know. We can’t be sure when we’ll see him or whether he’ll be in a talking mood that day, but we’ll certainly try!
Contributed by Dr. Alan Brody and edited by Tony Dandino, RT(MR).