Oct. 31, 2019 –It was a treat to visit the Radiology Department on Halloween, especially when I was greeted by the full team dressed in skeleton costumes — perfect for a group that uses state-of-the-art imaging services to look at the skeletons (and a few other things) of our patients. The imaging services provided include angiography, bone densitometry, diagnostic X-rays, orthopedic imaging, computerized tomography, fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance angiography, interventional radiology nuclear medicine with single proton emission computerized tomography and ultrasound with Doppler applications. Wow, that’s a mouthful!
I began my visit to “Radiology Island” in the main Radiology Department after being welcomed by Mayor Dave (Dave Andrews), manager of radiology; Joseph Smiler and Jeff Garcia, radiology technologist supervisors; Christina Lindsay, radiologic technologist and members of the radiology team. I quickly learned that the 115-person team treats both inpatients and outpatients, 24 hours a day, and completed more than 200,000 procedures last year! This collaborative team comprises clinicians, child life specialists, scheduling and authorizations staff, imaging technologists, and clinical support staff. For those who haven’t visited, the Radiology Department is housed in a large, multi-room space on the third floor of the Nelson/Hahn Pavilion.
Mayor Dave and team began my tour of the island by bringing me into the CT area, which was under construction and covered by a large plastic sheet to protect patients and staff. The team had decorated it for my visit (including a drawing of me!). Rady Children’s is getting a new scanner (the reason for the construction), which, according to the team, will be the “biggest and baddest out there.”
From there, we moved into the nuclear medicine area, where I met two of our very talented image technologists. When a patient comes for one of these scans, the procedure can take up to five hours — a lot for anyone, but especially a child. The team works very hard to keep the patients still and happy, and fortunately, we have the ability to play movies for the patients while they are undergoing the procedures. Patients getting nuclear medicine scans are primarily referred from gastroenterology or hematology/oncology, and are injected with radioactive isotopes (or for the gastro patients, they eat them in scrambled eggs). Our technicians then monitor the isotopes’ movement through the patients’ bodies.
Then, Mayor Dave guided me through the patient prepping area to learn about fluoroscopy. These images allow our technicians to see live movement in a patient. For example, the live image X-ray can show a patient swallowing or their heart beating. Rady Children’s has three rooms for these types of procedures.
Next, we passed through the staff workroom, where I got to talk some Florida Gator football, and learned I have some work to do converting employees! Go Gators! I also got to see how far we have come in digital imaging. Rady Children’s images are now 99 percent digital — very impressive! I remember having to sit in an actual photography dark room to view them during my earlier days as a physician. Then, I visited the reading room, which is always kept dark. Clinicians viewing the images need their eyes to be as sensitive to light as possible so they don’t miss a single detail. We then stopped by the very festive scheduling and authorizations room, where a team is dedicated to keeping the whole operation running smoothly.
At the end of my visit, I was led down to the dining rooms (and discovered a new back staircase), where we had a delicious Halloween-themed feast, complete with spider cookies and witch finger pretzel sticks. The team kindly gave me some souvenirs, including a radiology scrub top (did you know these team members can be identified because their scrubs are always either blue or grey?) and imaging initials: two metal letters that attach to the base of an employee badge and show up on scans. This way, every scan that occurs has the initials of the technician who performed the scan.
Everything about this team embodies the culture of safety here at Rady Children’s and the commitment to our mission. Thank you for the tremendous work that you do!