It's almost time again for ECR in Vienna and the customary niceties and the intense chatter and babble, as we all dive into the social dynamics of the conference and face the constant barrage of questions:
"When did you arrive?" "Where do you stay?" "Which airline did you fly?" "How many participants attend the meeting this year?" "Will it snow again?" "Let's cross over to the industrial exhibition and pocket some souvenirs at the booths." "Great to see you. How's Amanda?" (Who the heck is Amanda?) "Let's have a drink, breakfast, lunch, dinner, a baby -- at least we could try."
The informal social contact often appears to be more important than the learned papers and those poster sessions without posters. But still, there are some pompous, complacent scientific exchanges, misinterpreting the latest results of the barium enigma.
Talking shop, eating, and drinking, you see people you never expected to have a private life. Fortunately, with your mouth full of Sachertorte, you cannot discuss imaging of the urinary tract. The topics at the next table are money, the crisis, holidays, incompetent sales representatives, incompetent CEOs, the crisis, the decline of the market, sales, hostile takeovers, the crisis, and sex.
And then we hear the next talks: Liver imaging for the advanced alcoholic. Cappuccino as a nonexpensive oral contrast agent. The influence of the Vienna Volksoper on the angiography of the lower extremities.
In the commercial exhibition, the booth of Lyserg & Sharp and Doom (LSD) offers an easy way to color-code erstwhile black-and-white images: concentric visuals of colored patterns form behind the eyes in the mind of the customer, facilitating any diagnosis -- with the stress on "any."
Telepathy International is the new star in teleradiology -- wireless, monitor-free, cheap, and without any electronics, plain eclectic. Theoretical reasoning does it all. It generates an entire PACS in your hypnotically charged brain. The price is reasonable.
Speech Impediment Inc., the new Ruritanian dictation management company offers its novel William Henry Gates III Memorial software with integrated speech recognition, work-slow management, and automatic random erasure. "Crying rage is our goal."
This year's congress will touch on almost every imaginable topic in the radiological arena, drawing speakers from across the globe with the usual balance between youth and academic inexperience.
The new "hands-off" courses might even include the following:
- Topic 1: Fighting the economic crisis in medical imaging. Does lobotomy help? Open forum and sterile resection.
- Topic 2: Is there a crisis? Learn the French way of denial. Italian dinner included.
- Topic 3: How to mix your own nontoxic contrast agents. Step by step, with PowerPoint presentation. Sponsored by Nestlé.
- Topic 4: How to frame your MBA certificate and hang it on the wall front to back. Examples on video. Sponsored by Harvard Radiology Business Review.
- Topic 5: Learning to live: Basic differences between hospital administrator and radiologist. Explanatory graphics and role-playing. Bring your own Persian carpet.
- Topic 6: PET on the Shmatterhorn. With bonus CME (approval pending). Sponsored by Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss taxpayer.
- Topic 7: What happens to patients after the examination? Hide-and-seek through all changing cubicles and resuscitation. Real-life testimonials.
- Topic 8: PACS for pygmies. How to reach the buttons. Requires knowledge of bungee and/or trampoline jumping.
- Topic 9: Are you really a radiologist or only a BMW driver? An introduction to Freudian thinking. Help line and support groups. Sponsored by Dacia, the Logan manufacturer. Buy four tires and get a free car.
- Topic 10: Digital mammography. Learning how to find things.
- Topic 11: CT colonoscopy and bad breath. T1 and T2 relaxation exercises, meditation, and breathing techniques. Triple CME credits and double Austrian Airlines Miles & Less.
Note: Due to the complexity and level of difficulty of their contents, each course will accept a maximum of four to eight participants each. Couples preferred.
Have fun at the meeting.
Dr. Peter Rinck, PhD, is a professor of radiology and magnetic resonance and has a doctorate in medical history. He is the president of the Council of the Round Table Foundation (TRTF) and the chairman of the board of the Pro Academia Prize.
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