Medical imaging is key to good health

Clarissa Oliphant, chief radiographer at the children’shospital, demonstrates how to do a CT scan.

Radiologists are often the first to see the extent of a disease when it strikes, and that can carry a heavy burden, says Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s Professor Tracy Kilborn.

The hospital recognised the vital work these medical specialists do, on Sunday November 8, International Day of Radiology.

Professor Kilborn, the hospital’s head of radiology, says most patients coming to Red Cross needed some form of medical imaging.

“It’s not limited to X-rays and broken bones; it’s an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team.”

The focus of the commemorative day this year was on how radiologists and radiographers have supported patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Radiology is made up of medical imaging, which includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerised tomography (CT) scans, sonar and X-rays and nuclear medicine where radioisotope injections are used to do kidney, bone and cancer imaging.

Professor Kilborn said being the first to see the extent of a disease could be “emotionally taxing”.

“But,” she added, “it is rewarding, knowing that we have a hand in being able to catch and treat serious diseases.”

The pandemic had brought the hospital staff close together – some had lost close family to Covid-19, she said.

“We have had to embrace the challenges, dangers and anxiety, often working in close settings with patients.”

Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo thanked radiologists, radiographers and all the associated support staff for the work they do.

“We recognise your commitment and contribution to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and to assisting our citizens in the Western Cape, South Africa, and the world.”