Helping to save lives one scan at a time

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Holly Cook
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Analyzing X-rays, running computerized tomography scans and performing pregnancy ultrasounds may sound mind boggling but it's what the men and women of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center radiology department do every day.

"We process more than 100 wounded warriors from Operation Enduring Freedom, inpatients, active duty service members, dependents and retirees every day," said Karen Reynolds, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center medical support assistant. "This keeps the members of the department busy through its 24-hour, 7-days-a-week working schedule."

Using the staff's manpower to its fullest, the LRMC radiology department processes more than 110,000 radiological scans a year, she said.

In order to produce the numerous products, the staff goes through years of high-level training.

"With approximately 100 slots for diagnostic radiologists in the Air Force, each radiologist has to go through extensive education," said Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan Unsell, LRMC diagnostic radiologist.

Each diagnostic radiologist is required to attend about 13 years of school before they can become a certified Air Force diagnostic radiologist.

"Since most doctors' patients come through us, radiology is at the center of modern medicine," said Unsell.

As the only military radiology department in Europe, training and up-to-date technology is a must. The department processes all military members in Germany and the surrounding countries. As such, the men and women who work here process information spanning the European Command.

The department's highly trained and educated diagnostic radiologists can process and diagnose images within minutes depending on the urgency, Unsell said.

Having a fast turnaround gives the department not only the ability to assist with diagnoses, but also helps them process more individuals daily, he added.

Responsible for more than 50,000 service members and their families in the KMC, and all of EUCOM, sometimes the work the 13 LRMC diagnostic radiologists do can't be done alone.

"When we are in need of help, we are able to send less time sensitive studies back to the U.S.," said Unsell.

With the advances in technology, radiology departments are becoming more important.

"The amount of imagery being processed through radiology departments all over the world is increasing because our diagnoses are becoming more important to modern-day technology," said Unsell.

By using radiation, magnetic and other high-tech equipment, the men and women of the radiology department have become a key role in helping diagnose diseases such as breast cancer and testicular cancer, Unsell said.

"We use different forms of energy in order to diagnose small medical problems and diseases in patients," said Unsell.

By diagnosing these problems early the radiology department can help patients treat major diseases. They are helping save lives, one scan at a time.