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14th MDSS Radiology Department keeps Columbus AFB ready

Torrie Gates, 14th Medical Support Squadron radiologic technologist, stands behind a wall while Airman 1st Class Michael Mannarino, 14th Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineer apprentice, simulates getting an X-ray Feb. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The Kortiz Clinic radiology department’s primary mission is patient care which saves the Airmen time and trouble by getting quicker results. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Beaux Hebert)

Torrie Gates, 14th Medical Support Squadron radiologic technologist, stands behind a wall while Airman 1st Class Michael Mannarino, 14th Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineer apprentice, simulates getting an X-ray Feb. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The Kortiz Clinic radiology department’s primary mission is patient care which saves the Airmen time and trouble by getting quicker results. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Beaux Hebert)

Airman 1st Class Michael Mannarino, 14th Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineer apprentice, simulates getting an X-ray Feb. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The X-ray machine works by taking 220 volts from the wall outlet and then amplify it to 100,000-140,000 volts by utilizing a transformer like machine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Beaux Hebert)

Airman 1st Class Michael Mannarino, 14th Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineer apprentice, simulates getting an X-ray Feb. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The X-ray machine works by taking 220 volts from the wall outlet and then amplify it to 100,000-140,000 volts by utilizing a transformer like machine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Beaux Hebert)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Radiology department at the base clinic, is probably something most people don’t think about until they need their services, for either a potential broken bone or other internal injury, and last year the radiology department on Columbus Air Force Base served about 900 patients.

The Kortiz Clinic radiology department’s primary mission is patient care support which saves the Airmen and their family member’s time and trouble by providing services on base which leads to getting quicker results.

The team starts its day by warming up the X-ray equipment and checking the wiring around it, which may not sound like much but it crucial to the patient’s safety. Master Sgt. Eric Severs, 14th MDSS’s Diagnostics and Therapeutic flight chief, said that if the technologists found faulty wiring the machine could pose a potential safety concern to the patient. The X-ray machine works by taking standard electricity from the wall outlet and then amplify it to 100,000-140,000 volts by utilizing a step transformer to produce enough electricity to produce photons which eventually produce X-rays.

If not for the department here, Airmen would have to get their X-rays completed at another radiology department for their X-rays, and then be seen by the base doctor again for the results. In other words, the base radiology department is crucial to the wing mission because they ensure Airmen don’t miss work for longer periods of time or potentially flying hours for our pilots than they need.

“It is a great job, I wouldn’t have picked another one,” Severs said. “It’s our job to take care of [the patients] and place the minds at ease, whether it’s the patient’s first X-ray or their twentieth.”

Torrie Gates, 14th MDSS radiologic technologist, said that the most challenging this is adjusting to each patient but trying to get the same images needed for the Radiologist. The department has set baseline X-ray techniques for each exam but they have to adjust them to each specific patient to make sure they the radiologist get diagnostic exams and the patients get the lowest possible radiation dose possible.

One unique thing about the radiology department here is that it is a tele-radiologist site. Once the department has taken an X-ray exam, one of the team members sends it all the way to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where a radiologist will read the exam, write a report, and send it back to Columbus. This saves the Air Force money by not having to hire a radiologist locally.