What are emergency physicians to do when a CT must be read for a critically ill patient but there are no radiologists to consult? Read it themselves, of course—but before they do, Andrew D. Perron, MD, FACEP, has a few tips they should hear in his talk, “Ten Fatal Imaging Myths That Should Change Your Practice.” Dr. Perron, residency program director and professor of emergency medicine at Maine Medical Center in Portland, will discuss common imaging errors that occur in emergency medicine, especially when a radiologist is unavailable.
Explore This IssueACEP14 Daily News Wednesday: Vol 33 - No10C - October 2014
“Radiologists go to radiology school for a long, long time to learn how to [read scans],” he said. “We learn it by osmosis. We’re not as good as them, but we have to make a lot of decisions based on our interpretation of imaging.”
Because of the wide variety of patients emergency physicians treat, mistakes involving chest X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans, among other imaging technology, will be presented using 10 cases as examples.
Dr. Perron admits that, during his 20-year career in emergency medicine, he has probably made all of the mistakes he will discuss. He wants physicians to know everyone makes mistakes. “There’s a lot of different ways you can get yourself in trouble if you don’t understand that reading images is not a perfect science,” he said.
With the rapid growth in imaging technology, Dr. Perron said emergency physicians will find sustaining their knowledge increasingly difficult: “What I had to learn 20 years ago is way less than what these guys have to learn now, and what they’re learning now is way less than what they’re going to have to learn 20 years from now.” For now, he hopes his presentation will help emergency physicians avoid current radiology pitfalls and potentially fatal misdiagnoses.
Francesca Baratta is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.