Who Have You Thanked Today? This is Why Two People Thanked Me.

Who Have You Thanked Today? This is Why Two People Thanked Me.

Two thank you notes came to me today.

How many people snail mail hand-written thank you notes these days? And more to the point, how many people send thank you notes to pathologists? So I was as shocked as a dog going through an invisible fence when I received two thank you notes today, for two entirely different sets of circumstances.

The first note was the result of a telephone consultation from last week. A call was transferred to me from Mr. M, inquiring about a particular patient’s molecular microbiology laboratory result.

After determining that the caller was the patient’s brother and not the patient’s physician, I explained that HIPAA regulations prohibited me from answering questions without the patient’s consent.

“OK, forget about my sister, can you just review some lab procedures to me?” Mr. M asked.

“Sure,” I said.

Following that, we discussed how molecular microbiology worked. I explained why some tests such as qPCR detected certain organisms, while other tests, including the technique known as next-generation sequencing, could detect a far greater number of bugs. I could hear the light bulb go off in Mr. M’s brain as he applied this knowledge to the facts of his sister’s case.

Mr. M’s thank you note revealed he was a retired radiologist. He let me know how grateful he was for the few minutes I spent speaking with him. From his spindly handwriting, I surmise that it has been quite a while since he has been actively practicing. I was glad to bring him up to date on a modality that probably didn’t exist back when he last reviewed a patient’s chest x-ray.

The other thank you note also came from someone whose knowledge wasn’t quite what they needed it to be. She was a rep for a software company, and she turned up in my office unannounced and badly uninformed.

She was brand new in this particular sales position and clearly had no understanding of how various lab systems worked–she really didn’t understand what she was selling.

Along with my associate, I spent half an hour in my office with this struggling sales rep. We talked about how a lab operated, we defined some important terms, and we explained to her what her product could, and just as importantly could not, provide to a lab. She took copious notes as we gave her the basics that her employer had somehow neglected to provide to her.

In her note, she thanked us for taking the time to provide her with some guidance. I hope we provided her with enough to save her career.

It’s a pleasure to receive notes like these two. Something that I will miss when I soon close my office door for the last time!

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pathology

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Thank you notes

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lesraff

Hi! I am Les, a practicing pathologist living in the North Suburbs and commuting every day to the Western ones. I have lived my entire life in the Chicago area, and have a pretty good feel for the place, its attractions, culture, restaurants, and teams. My wife and I are empty-nesters with two adult children and four grandchildren.

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