Be Excellent to Each Other #illumedati

Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. This will be a short story with the simple reminder to “Be Excellent to Each Other“.

Be Excellent to Each Other

From Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Be Excellent to Each Other?

This last few days of my shift have been pretty rough. We had some people get sick and there were some shifts in the schedule. If you combine this with above-average volume, it’s been pretty busy for me and my team these last few days. Some of you may roll your eyes at a radiologist being “busy”, but it’s actually pretty difficult to concentrate for 10 hours straight.

Here’s a (fictional) short story:

It’s the height of the volume of my shift, when the other team just left and my team is now responsible for everything. I’m reading studies as they come through to the best of my ability. Suddenly, a critical finding comes up that needs emergent attention. For this example, let’s say it was an intracranial hemorrhage. So I get patched through to the person taking care of the patient to tell them that this patient has an acute intracranial hemorrhage. In this particular case, it’s a subdural hemorrhage and there is some mass effect and midline shift.

The conversation usually goes something like this:

“Hey, Dr. Smith, Mr. Jones has a subdural hematoma, it’s about 2 cm thick, there is some mass effect and midline shift. No herniation.”

“Ok, I’ll give neurosurgery a call. Thanks.”

But sometimes it ends up like this:

“Hey, Dr. Smith, Mr. Jones has a subdural hematoma, it’s about 2 cm thick, there is some mass effect and midline shift. No herniation.”

“A what?”

“A subdural hematoma.”

“Oh wow. What do I do?

At this point, any normal radiologist would be like “Huh? You don’t know what to do?”

However, I want to take this chance to remind everyone:

Be Excellent to Each Other

Remember that there is a leaving, breathing person on the other line who needs your help. Also, you might want to also realize that it’s July, and this is probably a brand new intern handling a call for their senior resident and/or attending. This is probably their first call ever in which someone told them that a patient has an intracranial hemorrhage. Put yourself in their position…

“What would you say?”

Most likely, it would probably be something like “What do I do?”

In that context, ask yourself what kind of response you want. At this point in my career, this happens once in awhile and I kind of have a tailored response to situations like this:

“I can’t tell you what to do. However, this is a critical finding that needs to be evaluated. It’s probably a good idea to talk to your senior resident or attending. I can almost guarantee you that they won’t be angry with you.”

Usually the response is one of relief, something to the effect of “Ok great. Will do. Thanks.”

Remember, we’re all on the same team here. Yelling accomplishes nothing.

Where does “Be Excellent to Each Other” come from?

It’s from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

It’s kind of dumb comedy from 1989, which likely hasn’t aged well. However, it’s catch phrase “Be Excellent to Each Other”, rings true. At its core, it’s basically just “be good to one another”. However, you have to understand the context from which it was said.

The context is that Bill and Ted got lost and somehow ended up in the future. A future in which they are essentially the saviors of Earth. Then, before they leave (to go back to the present), they state:

“Be Excellent to Each Other” and “Party On Dudes”

While kind of “dumb” in terms of how it is stated, I think it is important to understand that when they say “excellent”, it’s kind of like the highest form of “good” imaginable. So, it’s not just be good to one another, but be excellent. Go above good. Be excellent.

If you feel like watching the movie, you can find it on Amazon for cheap. It’s also streaming on Amazon Prime Video for free.

Oh, it’s also Prime Day if you guys didn’t know.


Next time you are irritated or feel the urge to yell at a fellow physician, remember:

Be Excellent to Each Other

We’re all in this together. We’re on the same team.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a fun movie to watch if you’ve never seen it.

On a completed unrelated note, I hope my boy Max Muncy wins the Home Run Derby today. He’s very underrated, and I think him not making the All-Star game was the biggest snub ever.

Medicine Mondays Sensei


Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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