A patient gets his chest scanned in the radiology clinic at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug.22, 2012. Radiology employs the use of imagery to both treat and diagnose diseases in the human body. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chad Nyhagen, 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron radiology technician observes the x-ray of a patient’s chest at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 22, 2012. Radiology employs the use of imagery to both treat and diagnose diseases in the human body. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom)
An X-ray of a patient’s hand is ready to be examined in the radiology clinic at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 22, 2012. Radiology employs the use of imagery to both treat and diagnose diseases in the human body. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom)
by Senior Airman Whitney Tucker
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
8/23/2012 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- In 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen went into his laboratory. Six weeks later he emerged with a single photograph; a photograph that would catapult physics into the modern era and revolutionize diagnostic medicine.
Today, Air Commandos at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., use Roentgen's groundbreaking X-ray technology to diagnose and treat a myriad of medical afflictions invisible to the naked eye.
"We serve between 15 and 25 patients a day," said Senior Airman Chad Nyhagen, 27th Special Operations Medical Operations Support Squadron radiology technician. "The diagnostic imaging clinic provides both general radiography and ultrasounds for patrons possessing the required referral documentation."
According to an Air Force website, diagnostic imaging technicians learn to take X-rays of the entire body and must possess an intimate knowledge of human anatomy. They are required to operate various types of imaging equipment and be capable of making sound decisions regarding patient care.
"Following basic military training, radiology students begin a multi-phase technical school," Nyhagen said. "During the first phase, which is four months long, we are taught basic knowledge and techniques. The next phase is nine months long and our on-the-job training begins. When we've finished training, technicians are given the option to take an Air Force quality control test and a registry test for national certification."
More than 100 years after its creation, radiology continues to evolve and allow physicians to make diagnosis and develop combative therapies with greater accuracy than ever before. As techniques become less invasive and fear of radiation exposure dwindles, patients flock to the clinic to have their health concerns addressed, treated and dispelled.
"Our goal here is not only to treat patients to the best of our ability when they have an illness, but to catch the illness in its earliest stages," Nyhagen said. "We have the capability to do that with the technology available to us, and that's something not everyone is fortunate enough to have."