* Posts by Medical Cynic

67 posts • joined 15 Oct 2012


Baroness Dido Harding lifts the lid on the NHS's manual contact tracing performance: 'We contact them up to 10 times over a 36-hour period'

Medical Cynic

Only if you use a blood-based test. Swabs may not reach the right bit of nasal/laryngeal mucosa. Not just the anterior nares.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

Medical Cynic

Re: The future is behind you ....


Please check your data: A self-driving car dataset failed to label hundreds of pedestrians, thousands of vehicles

Medical Cynic

Re: Self driving car image training

And they're all from the USof A, so some of the bits of traffic lights or whatever that are seen in the corner of an adjacent square may be hard to recognise this side of the pond. Most UK traffic lights are on a pole; many in the US hang from wires. Where does the 'traffic light' stop and the network of supporting wire begin? Pedestrian crossings have some differences, too.

Facebook mulls tagging pics with 'radioactive' markers to trace the origin of photos used to build image-recog AI

Medical Cynic

Re: Eggheads? No, more likely PR drones.

Sources emit radiation - alpha, beta, gamma. But not x-rays. The gamma rays may be of the same frequencies as x-rays emitted by decelleration of electrons in a Tungsten-Rhenium target [the bremmstrahlung effect], but they are named "X-rays".

WannaCry ransomware attack on NHS could have triggered NATO reaction, says German cybergeneral

Medical Cynic

Re: Disproportionate response?

"brand new Win7 based machines"

Only in the NHS...

When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences

Medical Cynic

A decent "Standard Image" for re-installation should point ALL the likely user file locations to the network drive. Ed Downloads, My documents,Desktop etc. Then everyone would be happy! The user need neither know nor care where the files are stored.

We're late and we're unreliable but we won't invalidate your warranty: We're engineers!

Medical Cynic

Re: I need an electrician

It's the same in aviation: There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots - but there are no old, bold pilots. With the possible exclusion of captain Eric [Winkle] Brown RN, who died in his 90s. Link to wikipedia article.

Tetraplegic patient can now move his four limbs with the help of a badass neuroprosthetic suit

Medical Cynic

Re: Great stuff; could be boon to the elderly as well.

It's The Wrong trousers!

Wallace got there first...

Cassini may be dead – but its data shows basic building blocks of life spewing from Enceladus

Medical Cynic

Pre GDPR name list

My daughter's name and signature are on a CD on board Cassini.

Part of a worldwide schools project.

Fortunately her signature has changed with maturity, reducing the risk of alien bank scamming!

You know what the NHS really needs? Influencers, right guys? #blessed

Medical Cynic

Agreed. Even a token co-payment would reduce the ludicrous trivia that GPs have to waste their time dealing with.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

Medical Cynic

Re: The very word "disabled" is an ableist term...

to my knowledge nobody is calling out that at its core the very word "disabled" is an 'ableist' term...

Some prefer the PC term 'differently abled'! Presumably those who do, also object to 'disabled'.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision

Medical Cynic

Re: That's nothing...

You must keep all your digits on the same side. All 4 fingers and thumb. Otherwise, if it kicks back, you can get a fracture of the base of your thumb. Known as a chauffeur's fracture.

Hell hath no fury like a radar engineer scorned

Medical Cynic

Don't mess with Jack!

Not so fast AI Doctor, the FDA would like to check how good you really are at healthcare

Medical Cynic

Re: Adaptive learning

The human version learns as it goes along, by its mistakes. Hence M&M [mortality and morbidity] meetings, MDTs [multi-disciplinary teams] and SUI [serious untoward incident] analysis.

Will adaptive AI be able to do the same - meetings not required, and all the info is likely to be available in the patient record?

Amid polar vortex... Honeywell gets frosty reception after remote smart thermostat tech freezes up for a week

Medical Cynic

Re: Service Life

The problem is, though, that as soon as the room with the thermostat gets up to temperature, the heat to the rest of the building is turned off.

So this is how that terrifying killer AI will end us... by pushing us down hospital wait lists?

Medical Cynic

Maybe they could employ some more staff?

Yes. Only 5 years or so AFTER basic medical qualification to train as a radiologist.

You'd have to fund more posts and then wait for the manpower to qualify.

Better would be to improve working conditions etc so that existing radiologists don't retire early, emigrate or go part time. All due to stress and relatively poor remuneration in the NHS.

Many radiologists are also going part time and/or stopping extra sessions [eg waiting list initiatives] due to punitive pension taxation rules.

Fujitsu says UK Foreign Office can't count in lawsuit over loss of £350m comms contract

Medical Cynic

They certainly b*ggered up the PACS contract a decade ago, and the Lorenzo records later on.

NHS England claims it will be all-digital within the decade

Medical Cynic

Re: As with all things this could be great if done properly

Any old person with a chronic condition needs to be seeing a specialist.

Rubbish. Hospital appointments are in just as short supply as GP appointments. They need to see specialists occasionally, but for monitoring long-term problems the GP is best placed. Much will be done by a practice nurse, anyway. And good luck with monitoring bloods online!

Medical Cynic

Re: As with all things this could be great if done properly

All that can be done online is a history and visual examination [and the latter will be sub-optimal]. No palpation of the lump or tender area. No ophthalmoscopic exam of the eyes. No dip test of urine, and no blood tests - have to make another appt for that, probably at the hospital.

And it won't take less time for the GP who will get more info from the patient in 10 mins face-to-face than in an online consultation.

Brace yourself, Britain: Health minister shares 'vision' for NHS 'tech revolution'

Medical Cynic

Re: But will it safeguard patient privacy ?

That would indeed be nice. I wouldn't bank on it, though!

One log-in per app would be a more realistic expectation.

Montezuma's Revenge still too tough for AI, new Google Brain office, and other bits and bytes

Medical Cynic

I thought this would be about AI in medicine! The 'bot doesn't understand when the patient complains of said affliction!

'Plane Hacker' Roberts: I put a network sniffer on my truck to see what it was sharing. Holy crap!

Medical Cynic

Re: So... who pays for the 3G/4G data connection?

"You don't hold the title to the vehicle. The 'log book' document specifically says THIS IS NOT PROOF OF OWNERSHIP. The DVLA own your vehicle, you are simply the keeper and the driver. Driving is illegal which is why the DVLA have to sell you a licence."

It'ts not proof of ownership, as the owner of the car doesn't need to be registered at DVLA - just the person who keeps [and uses] it.

The vehicle may be owned, eg, by a hire purchase company. You still keep and use it, but YOU don't OWN it until the finance is all paid off.

NHS England fingered over failure to forward patient correspondence

Medical Cynic

Pension debacle

If you think the forwarding issue is bad, you should look at how badly Crapita has f*cked up the GPs' pension scheme.

Medical Cynic

Re: True story.

""Late 2001, my optician wasn't happy about my field tests, and wrote to my GP requesting a specialist consultation."

This is your problem right there. Why is the optician contacting your GP? Your optician should let YOU know and YOU should contact whatever healthcare provider you want to provide the service."


The right answer would have been for the optician [primary care] to refer direct to local hospital's Ophthalmology dept [secondary care]. They have the ability to do that.

referral from one primary care body to another is just workload dumping on the GP.

Imagine you're having a CT scan and malware alters the radiation levels – it's doable

Medical Cynic

Re: NMRI is CT ...

If you want to be pedantic, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is a physical phenomenon that can be exploited to obtain computed tomography images, but interpreted differently it can be used to give the characteristic spectra of individual molecular species for biochemical analysis both in vitro and in vivo.

Gmail is secure. Netflix is secure. Together they're a phishing threat

Medical Cynic

Re: This has happened to me for years

If you can create a filter about dots, as the linked article says you can with plus signs, it would be worth setting this up to add a red label as a warning.

Doctor finds physical changes to astronaut's eyes after ISS stint

Medical Cynic

An apostrophic error!

Astronauts' - more than one affected by these changes.

Stop slurping NHS data to enforce immigration laws? Not on your nellie, huffs UK Home Office

Medical Cynic

Most if not all GUM clinics [Genito-Urinary medicine - VD as was] see patients anonymously, using a local clinic number for continuity ID.

Oregon will let engineer refer to himself as an 'engineer'

Medical Cynic

Re: let me guess

Presumably a slightly different etymology.

Engineer as in driver of the engine, where the 'eer suffix is used similarly to as in mountaineer.

Not someone who actually engineered the construction/maintenance of the engine.

UK.gov told to tread carefully with transfer of data sets to NHS Digital

Medical Cynic


I was involved with the specification and procurement of an electronic patient record under NPfIT. We had just got to the board meeting at which the successful supplier was to be announced. On the way to the meeting [literally - in his car], the chairman received a call from NHS Central to say that the plan had been scrapped, and a new one was to start - so all funding withdrawn.

This set HNS clinical IT back by nearly ten years.

Auto-makers told their autopilots need better safeguards

Medical Cynic

Re: It is easier to automate the damn highway

Perhaps trucks could be allowed to drive faster, under automatic control in a designated lane?

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

Medical Cynic

Agreed, the nurse doesn't need to 'use' windows. She/he uses the patient record system, or the lab results system, or RIS/PACS etc.

The OS is irrelevant so long as the required systems can be run in it [or in a standard browser within it].

US Air Force networks F-15 and F-22 fighters – in flight!

Medical Cynic

What a gas!

Perhaps they could work the same trick on UK Smart Meters?

Europe's data protection rules set a high bar for consent – and UK ICO welcomes your thoughts

Medical Cynic

This would put an end to the NHS's flagrant misuse of patient data without consent.

Police drones, robo surgeons and chatbot civil servants. What could go wrong?

Medical Cynic

NHS IT and robots

The NHS has wasted spectacular sums of money on clinical records systems, with pretty poor results.

GOK what would be the outcome of any foray into AI. Robot surgery? Fine if very routine - but there's a lot of variance in the basic human design which can trap the unwary.

There's a saying in the surgical world that There's no such thing as minor surgery - just minor surgeons

As to AI in diagnostics, they may just match the standard of NHS 111 [ie piss-poor], but the complexity of diagnosis in unsorted fresh cases, with the added complexity of languages and dialects is huge. Not to mention the difficulties of clinical examination.

Want to bring down that pesky drone? Try the power of sound

Medical Cynic

Risk of death

"It is possible that the transparent section is a safety feature so that its operation can be visually confirmed."

Yes indeed. You need to be able to see an air-fluid level to confirm there is fluid going into the veins, rather than air.

Risk of fatal air embolism otherwise.

Police pull up van man engaged in dual carriageway sex act

Medical Cynic

This can have disastrous consequences if the lack of attention causes a crash.


Presumably risk of choking for the 'other half', too.

Bloke launches twinkly range of BBC Micro:bit accessory boards

Medical Cynic

But where's the Sideways RAM?

AI eggheads: Our cancer-spotting code rivals dermatologists

Medical Cynic

Where is the responsibility here?

Can the patient whose MM was flagged as 'doesn't need further Ix sue the programmers?

If so, the programmers of the app, or the programmers of the AI software that developed it?

Or just Google as an entity?

Barcodes stamped on breast implants and medical equipment

Medical Cynic

Press release reliability

It seems to me that, reading between the lines of a press release no doubt written by someone without any knowledge, that they are talking about bar-coding the packaging rather than the implant itself. I can't imagine a barcode on a small orthopaedic screw being a)possible or b) readable without major surgery. If the package is barcoded, then all the bits used in a particular procedure in a particular patient can be reliably recorded in a central database for such implants.

Then all you need to know is the patient ID and the procedure concerned.

Re MRI, inductance can cause problems in addition to heating. Mainly neurostimulation. At high field strengths, this can be a direct effect on the nerves themselves, causing tingling sensations. At all filed strengths, lengths of wire close to nervous tissue will have much stronger effects.

An example would be retained pacemaker wires. Sometimes when removing a pacemaker [eg temporary pacing no longer required] the wire or bits of wire break off and are left in situ. These are unlikely to cause problems in normal life, but in an MRI scanner, current will be induced, this in a wire that is deliberately positioned to link to the heart's conductive sysyet. The result is the scanner pacing the heart at the repetition rate of whatever sequence is running - which is generally far in excess of its maker's safe limits!

[retired radiologist]

Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

Medical Cynic

Driving across the cycle lane seems stupid at worst, counter-intuitive at best!

But autonomous cars should find it easier than wetware drivers to comply with disparate rules between jurisdictions.

They have GPS to tell them where they are, and could be programmed with different subroutines for different manoeuvres in different areas without difficulty.

Married man arrives at A&E with wedding ring stuck on todger

Medical Cynic

All the E&E departments I've worked in have ring cutters available, which have a blunt bit to slide under the ring between gold and flesh, and a rotary cutter turned by hand to cut through the ring. I'm sure one of these would have worked. Possibly for a thick ring two cuts 180 deg apart would have been required.

A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

Medical Cynic

Re: AKA 'old rectory syndrome'

Listen, you don't know cold until you've had to clear the ice off of the inside of your bedroom windows in the morning...

That was normal in the 1950s and even later.

Will the real builders of IoT please stand up?

Medical Cynic

The IoT needs two major elements to make it work and become successful.

First is to ensure security - no backdoors from the 'fridge to your network.

Second is to have standardisation of communications between all devices - regardless of manufacturer.

These will need to be agreed like the internet protocols across the interweb, and could be similar to, for example, HL7, XDS and DICOM in the medical field.

That way, users wouldn't be locked in to one supplier [or conversely have different little installations that run independently of each other] and also if a supplier went bust, the kit could still be used with another controller or app.

IoT manufacturer caught fixing security holes

Medical Cynic

key taken away from both sides so no one can gain access or exit the door with-out a key.

And no one can open the door when the house burns down, either.

I'd rather be burgled than roasted - though neither would be the ideal outcome. My locks have thumbturns on the inside, so anyone trapped can get out.

No 10's online EU vote signup crash 'inevitable' – GDS overseer

Medical Cynic

Why should we bend over backwards to accommodate people who have already broken the law by failing to register in the first place?

Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

Medical Cynic


Bring on the telescreen - but in a rather more sophisticated form.

Google AI gains access to 1.2m confidential NHS patient records

Medical Cynic


Not by the time Google has compared the medical data with the vast amount of data it holds on individuals from searches, gmail, social media etc.

It'll have your name, address, phone number and more attached to the medical record in the shake of a lamb's tail.

One million patients have opted out of Care.data

Medical Cynic

New systems

There are new systems coming on line so probably best to opt out again. At least 2 Reed codes are needed now, compared with only one previously..

More info here: http://www.nhsdatasharing.info/


Closing courts to fling £700m at digital stand-ins will fail, MPs snarl at UK.gov

Medical Cynic

Another project to sign off without end-to-end testing?



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