Multiple radiologists chimed in with mockery online following a segment in which CNN anchor Chris Cuomo shared a “scary” lung x-ray with colleague Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Cuomo was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week.
“I have to tell you it is scary to have your lungs go up there and see that stuff and be like, ‘What is that? What is that smoke in there?’ And they tell you that’s the virus,” Cuomo said earlier this week.
“The second I saw that x-ray I saw infiltrate on it, even though I don’t know what infiltrate even means,” the brother of New York governor Andrew Cuomo admitted.
He put the images on the screen for Gupta to review.
Gupta’s Response – Meh
“You’re right,” Gupta replied. “One of the things that you’ll hear is infiltrate, do you have an infiltrate in your chest, in your lungs, and that’s basically a collection of inflammatory fluid.”
Cuomo claimed that despite not knowing what it means, this x-ray clearly has “infiltrate” on it.
Why did Gupta indulge him in discussing if he didn’t know what he was seeing?
CNN’s resident doctor added the x-ray “looks pretty good,” showing signs of “a little bit of fluid buildup there.”
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“But not something that I would definitively call pneumonia,” something doctors would be looking for, he added.
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) April 7, 2020
Radiologists Weren’t Buying It
Several radiologists responded to the segment on social media, suggesting Cuomo and Gupta were maybe over-dramatizing things just a smidge.
“As a Radiologist for 30+ years, that x-ray reading made me open my books to figure out what ‘Normal’ looks like,” wrote Dr. Mahesh Kumar, a former head of radiology at Pennine Acute Trust.
Tom Folan, a “board-certified radiologist,” was even more straight forward in his reply.
“Now I’m no neurosurgeon, and I only read 1000’s of CXRs every year, but to my eyes, that CXR is stone-cold normal,” he wrote.
He also mocked use of the term ‘infiltrates’ in radiology.
“Can somebody please point out these ‘infiltrates’ to me,” he asked. “I see a normal cardiomediastinal silhouette, no evidence of effusion, normal lung volume, normal interstitial markings and clear lungs with no acute osseous abnormalities.”
Oh hello, Board-certified diagnostic radiologist here.
Now I’m no neurosurgeon, and I only read 1000’s of CXRs every year, but to my eyes, that CXR is stone cold normal.
— Tom Folan, MD (@tomfolanmd) April 7, 2020
Not a Good Look
Folan, in several posts afterward, pointed out that he isn’t casting doubt on Cuomo’s diagnosis. And to be clear, nobody here is either.
But having Cuomo rant about how “scary” his relatively normal x-ray is and having an on-air doctor fail to refute that assessment is going to open up the door to a lot of people who doubt CNN’s every word.
Using his illness to sensationalize his reporting has been a consistent theme for Cuomo since his coronavirus diagnosis. He recently went on an expletive-laced rant against the President for giving people hope during the pandemic.
“I’m not going to prepare the way I should because it reinforces the bulls***,” Cuomo said, sharing a deceptively-edited video. “I’m telling you and I’m going to hope you’re okay with it.”
Never let a crisis go to waste, eh Chris? Even if it’s your own.
For his part, Gupta was a good sport and poked a little fun at himself after a commenter asked that he not read chest x-rays anymore.
Ha! Fair enough. Could only see the image on an iPhone way across the room. But, looked like a normal chest X-ray to me. Fear not: @ChrisCuomo had a radiologist read it as well. https://t.co/obZH4euElI
— Dr. Sanjay Gupta (@drsanjaygupta) April 7, 2020
Gupta claimed in 2018 that the President had heart disease, something several cardiologists at the time said was not accurate.
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