Emergency Radiology

Imaging in the ER

Emergency radiology is a sub-specialty of radiology that primarily focuses on diagnosing acute illnesses and injuries of emergency room (ER) patients. This relatively new specialty greatly increases the care and treatment of patients and boosts the quality of emergency medicine as a whole. 

Emergency radiology refers to medical imaging (X-rays, sonograms, MRIs, CT scans) taken and interpreted in an emergency room. Emergency radiologists help diagnose sudden illnesses and injuries, such as appendicitis and gunshot wounds. Along with emergency physicians, emergency radiologists also help treat these patients. Like emergency physicians, emergency radiologists work whenever an ER is open, meaning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.


Greensboro Radiology team reviewing an ER patient's status report
 

Since the 1990s, emergency radiology has become a specialty in the wider field of radiology. Many hospitals currently offer fellowships specifically in emergency radiology to not only grant a radiologist the emergency radiology specialty to his curriculum vitae, but also to strengthen the skills needed for effective emergency medical imaging interpretation. With this creation of a radiology specialty, patients can expect and receive better care and treatment when visiting the emergency room. (But patients should not expect less time in the waiting room.)

By having radiologists who practice nothing but emergency radiology, the ER will have a higher quality of radiologic interpretation and diagnosis. This benefits the hospital as well as the patient. With a higher quality of care, hospitals potentially have fewer missed diagnoses. Emergency physicians have better assistance treating patients. Malpractice lawsuits potentially decrease. Everyone wins, especially the patient.


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