Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hospital Medicine Probes The Use of Ultrasound

A doctor who treats only patients admitted to a hospital is often referred to as a "hospitalist".  I have met a few of these versatile doctors in my job as an ultrasound instructor.  These doctors are charged with dealing with the problems that flare up like wild fires when other physicians are home in bed.  They are trained to deal with many issues, and they are trained to know their limits.  Many of these issues occur in the ICU or CCU and are cardiac, or surgically related.  It is natural for them to be creative with patient care, because they are often working alone without the help of other physicians.  Naturally, hospitalists are discovering the wonderful tool called portable ultrasound.  It makes perfect sense when trying to insert a line in the internal jugular to use ultrasound as a guide.  What about post surgical bleeding? Piece of cake.  Cardiac issues?  Pull out the cardiac probe to scan for a pericardial effusion.  My job is to train the wonderful doctors and give the tools and expertise at making a rapid and accurate diagnosis with portable ultrasound. 

“The ultrasound will be the stethoscope of the 21st century,” says Mark Ault, director of the Division of General Internal Medicine and assistant chairman for clinical affairs of the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “And the goal will be to have an ultrasound in the hands of every internist.”

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