Louisville, KY – Hortense Lewis, a 32-year old chronic, idiopathic, chest and abdominal pain patient, recently presented to a local ED by EMS for her 637th ED visit in the past 5 years. Complaining of severe pain and wanting an explanation, Ms. Lewis was subjected to a battery of tests which included a CT of the chest and abdomen. To the muted surprise of her ED care team, the workup once again failed to show a cause of her pain and she was discharged. Notably, these CTs were her 399th and 400th in her lifetime, split between numerous hospital systems.
After she stepped outside to smoke and wait for her hospital-provided cab, Ms. Lewis experienced something quite unusual. As she grabbed her cigarette from its pack, she found the second she touched it and thought about lighting it that the cigarette spontaneously lit on fire! She then turned towards a nearby trash can and she found that just by pointing at the trash can and thinking about fire that the trash can also spontaneously lit aflame.
Shaken, Ms. Lewis returned to the ED where quick action was undertaken to ensure everyone’s safety. She was sedated, had several layers of gloves placed around her hand, was placed in restraints, and was subsequently admitted. As an inpatient, she underwent a battery of tests but no medical explanation could be found for her apparent superpowers. All medical experts were stumped. The working diagnosis was that the patient’s “DNA was changed somehow” through repeated radiation doses resulting in her advanced spontaneous pyrogenic abilities.
Once word got out of Ms. Lewis’ radiation-induced therapeutic affliction, EDs in the Louisville area quickly began to experience an influx of “radiation seekers” looking to gain superpowers of their own. One college-aged kid dressed as Spiderman commented that he has been practicing his spider web-dispensing tricks and was working on swinging from building to building in preparation for his upcoming superpowers. Another teenage kid in the waiting area was wearing sunglasses that he hoped would turn into X-ray specs….. for reasons that are too creepy to repeat here.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” commented Dr. Franz Uberhouser, a local ED physician, “People are coming in and droves and literally making up symptoms in order to get CT scans. I caught one patient with a piece of paper in her hand trying to cheat her way through her history and physical in order answer questions ‘correctly’ so she could get a CT scan for appendicitis”!
On a related note, Louisville Hospital System has put out an ad looking to immediately hire four additional diagnostic radiologists. They are developing a long term plan anticipating a need to hire a number of oncologists in about 15-30 years as well.
As for Ms. Lewis, she was “hired” by the US military where she has been “hiding out” in an undisclosed location.