X-ray Tech Makes Video About Finding Something While Scanning Patient, Sparking Debate

A TikToker and registered radiologic technologist with a specialization in computed tomography sparked discussion after posting a video detailing one of the more emotionally difficult parts of his career.

The video, posted by user @jroddynotricch, shows the worker standing in front of an imaging machine. In the text overlaying the video, he wrote, “When you scan a patient and find something…but you can’t tell them.”

This TikTok currently has over 3 million views.

In comments, many users were confused by the idea that the tech couldn’t share what they saw with the patient directly.

“Whats the reasoning?” one user asked.

The original poster responded to this comment, explaining, “Need to be a doctor to diagnose.”

In a later comment, the TikToker said: “We can show you [the images]. But once the questions start coming I gotta hit em with the ‘I apologize, I can’t say. I’m not a doctor.’”

According to multiple sources, this is common industry practice.

In a post on the blog of Baker College, writer Cameron J. Vander Stel explained why.

“Interpreting an image for a patient can potentially be a diagnosis,” Vander Stel explained. “That is part of the practice of medicine and is legally prohibited unless you are a doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.”

That said, imaging experts can still assist in the process of reaching a diagnosis.

“It is not uncommon for us to alert an ER doctor or radiologist of things that we notice. For instance, if you had a collapsed lung, would you want us to simply wait up to a half hour for a report to come back from the radiologist? No, we usually pick up on those types of things and will show the image to the ER doctor immediately,” Vander Stel continued. “A doctor always makes the final call, but we are always prioritizing situations.”

Even if techs aren’t supposed to diagnose, according to TikTokers in comments, they occasionally let a diagnosis or two slip through.

“A tech accidentally told me he seen something. I didn’t tell the doctor though, didn’t want to get anyone in problems,” one user recalled. “Luckily it was benign.”

“My X-ray tech after my bike crash ‘I can’t tell you this but it’s definitely a broken clavicle, you didn’t hear that from me though,’” another remembered.

In some instances, the techs said nothing, according to TikTokers. However, TikTokers note that they knew something was wrong based on a shift in behavior and body language.

“I knew they found a brain tumor after I was done with the MRI [because] the women were complimenting me so much,” stated a commenter. “It’s almost gone now though!”

“I saw the guy and he didn’t want to make eye contact,” another shared. “That’s when I knew.”

For these reasons, as @jroddynotricch wrote in the comments, “Gotta keep the poker face up.”

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