I showed a patient her brain tumor

…the other day. She’s a terrifically nice lady, and has been diagnosed with a tumor about 2 months before.

She became my patient after she tripped and fell, and needed a head CT. When I was closing her wound, she said “I keep asking to see it, but nobody will show it to me”.

My last act that shift was to unplug all her monitors and put her in a wheelchair for the ride to the monitor. We had a nice talk about where it was, and that we were going to admit her due to the increasing edema. She was very happy to finally get to see it.

I wonder if I’d want to see mine?

Cross posted at the Lingual Nerve, an odd collection of medically minded, group bloggers.


  1. I always try to show patients their xrays and go over any question they have. It seems to always be a positive experience. One of the most common situations are the massive ICB and the patient is in the process of herniating. I usually grab the largest contigent of family that can fit my the viewbox (I wish we had monitors) and go over the CT with them. Usually the understand very quickly what’s going on when you go over the slices in relationship to the sagittal image–when the count the number of slices with blood showing they get the picture very quickly of the hopelessness.

  2. I’m confused. You say you were “closing her wound” which sounds like surgery. But then it also sounds like the tumor was not removed?

  3. She had a minor scalp laceration Outside her skull, the tumor is Inside her skull. Sorry for the confusion.