Sunday, June 1, 2014

Butler Memorial Hospital

Tomorrow will be the start of my fourth week at Butler Memorial Hospital (BMH). This is the first year that WVU PA students will be rotating through this site.  The hospital is located about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, about an hour drive.  BMH receives around 16,000-18,000 surgical pathology specimens annually and does not complete any postmortem examinations.  The specimens range from simple GI biopsies and skins to more complex specimens such as colons, prostates, and mastectomies for cancer.

The pathology department has six pathologists with specialties in dermatopathology, hematopathology, and general pathology/cytology.  Butler has a pathologists’ assistant who is actually the mom of one of my classmates (she is awesome!).  In addition, the laboratory, gross room, and histology are all in the same area so we get plenty of interaction with the histology/cytology techs as well.

Butler, like many other pathology labs, uses voice recognition software (turns your talk into text so that you don’t have to keep touching the keyboard with bloody gloves) for dictations.  After three weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that voice recognition software can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  It’s a great alternative to manually typing dictations, but sometimes it is quite finicky.  Sometimes it will comprehend the most complicated medical terms such as “malacoplakia” or “biliary dyskinesia”, but then won’t understand you when you say “with” or “the”.

And then there are the times where your mouth just stops working and spews out an incoherent word “cholelithalksjjs” and you think, “there’s no possible way the computer understood that”, and then it does “cholelithiasis”.  For any Harry Potter fans, it reminds me a lot of the first time Harry Potter used Floo Powder (except in this case the software still lets me into Diagon Alley):

Voice recognition software conundrums aside, I’m loving my time at Butler Memorial Hospital.  I love having the high specimen load to keep me busy throughout the day and love being able to gross some more complex specimens. It’s definitely a competitor for my favorite rotation site.


  1. Just stumbled across your blog as a future PA student (starting at Duke this Fall!). Happy to see a fellow Harry Potter obsessed fellow PA :)

    Sounds like the voice recognition software can be a bit like the spell-checking quill after the charm starts wearing off... Roonil Wazlib! Cholelithalksjjs!

    1. YES, exactly like the spell-checking quill!
      Congrats on being accepted to Duke! I'd love to hear about it once you start!