Prepare, Prevent, Heal, Deploy

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ashley Perdue

Innovation and technology are not new concepts, and the pace of their advancement continues to increase.

When thinking about innovation and technology, and how they are applied in the U.S. Air Force, the first things that may come to mind are probably stealth aircraft, more durable robots for disarming explosive devices in deployed locations, or possibly our growing cyberspace capabilities.

These critical domains don’t exist or function without healthy Airmen. The best way to take care of Airmen and keep them healthy is to ensure they receive top of the line care.

In order to do just that, the 6th Medical Group Diagnostic Imaging Flight opened their doors for patients to take advantage of their brand new computed tomography (CT) machine May 13, 2019, at the MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Medical Clinic.

“This is top of the line for General Electric scanners,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Guancia, NCO in charge of computed tomography, assigned to the 6th Medical Support Squadron. “The main feature for the new scanner is the Gemstone Spectral Imaging and HD Capabilities.”

These features mean the images are produced faster during the CT scan and have increased quality compared to the old machine, which allows the computer to distinguish the difference between bone and tissue and helps radiologists better diagnose patients.

“Beforehand, we could not do certain exams due to the scan speed and software we had with our old scanner,” added Senior Airman Matthew Youngblood, a 6th MDSS X-ray technician.

Not only will this machine offer efficiency but it also contains organ dose modulation which reduces radiation doses on more sensitive organs such as the eyes and groin region.

As advanced as this machine is, it requires user proficiency and to no surprise, the 6th MDG is on top of it.

“The diagnostic imaging technologists and students rotate through the CT department for a month to get a basic understanding of the machine and physics,” stated Guancia. “This helps them with their mission readiness as they have sign-off exams they are required to accomplish to test their knowledge of the machine and its anatomy.”

According to Guancia, their old and new scanner were both built by the same manufacturing company, which has made learning how to operate the new machine a smooth transition.

With this type of technology, getting it inside of a building can be a struggle. Some parts of the machine cannot be exposed to light which means the majority of the machine is built and pieced together before shipping.

In order to accommodate the shipment, a section of an outside wall and two additional interior walls had to be cut out to get the machine inside, a necessary sacrifice to ensure all of MacDill’s warfighters receive the best care.

“The 6th MDG mission is to ‘Prepare, Prevent, Heal, Deploy’ and this machine makes that happen,” said Guancia.