WESTERN CAPE NEWS - With the global outbreak of Covid-19 almost a year ago, health professionals all over the world were faced with a health crisis. However, with the help of modern technology, radiographers can pick up whether a patient has been infected with Covid-19 through x-rays.
According to radiographer at George Hospital, Berdine Grobbelaar, an x-ray can detect infection in the lung and if so, they can check for any signs of deterioration or improvement of a patient's condition.
Brobbelaar says although an x-ray is beneficial in the diagnostic process, it is only performed when there is a strong indication of the need for it. “We try to avoid exposing patients to radiation wherever possible."
Radiographers are a vital part of the healthcare chain as they are what you would call, the “right hand” of doctors when it comes to making a diagnosis of a patient’s condition. On World Radiography Day, 8 November, those behind-the-scenes healthcare heroes were acknowledged for their remarkable contribution to improving the system.
Speaking to Grobbelaar and two other diagnostic radiographers in the Radiology Department at George Hospital, each with more than 20 years of experience in the field, it is easy to understand why radiographers are so important.
According to Michelle Thompson, a diagnostic radiographer is responsible for doing x-rays to get the best images possible to make a diagnosis. Radiographers work closely with a radiologist, the doctor that writes the medical report and doctors in general to make a proper diagnosis and where necessary, to offer the best treatment options for their patients.
Diagnostic radiography can also mean the difference between life and death for a stab victim. According to Anna-marie Josephs, an x-ray will be able to give a clear image of how serious the stab wound is.
What makes their job interesting is the fact that each case is different, and you can never be sure of what you will discover. Something that others may not know about their job is that they can work with contrast media which is used to enhance the quality of the x-ray images of the body.
Contrast media, also called contrast agents, can either be taken as a fluid or injected into the patient. “If a patient cannot swallow, the contrast media can be used to expose the reasons for it,” says Josephs.
Radiographers often work in the background and deserve to be acknowledged for their valuable input to patient healthcare, the reason that World Radiography Day is celebrated every year.
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