Article Conference CoverageFrom AIUM 44th Conference held in San Francisco, California - April, 2000

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Martin Necas, RDMS, RVT: "Hi, I’m Martin Necas from and we’re at the 44th Annual Convention of the AIUM in San Francisco. Sitting here with me today is Joseph Allen Worrall from Fairbanks, Alaska. Allen is on our Editorial Board and he’s a very active member and as I understand, an obstetrician and gynecologist with the investigation of ultrasound. He is actually RDMS registered. Today, I would like to ask him to give us a little bit of a overview of how he got into ultrasound and what the qualification is to him – Allen"

Dr. Joseph Allen Worrall: "I got my first ultrasound machine about mid-1970, our clinic came to a meeting like this and I decided that ultrasound had reached the point where we ought to have one. I went back and hassled my colleagues until they authorized the expenditure, and it was the ADR suitcase machine and had a bit heavy linear probe, and it was really quite something. It so happens that at Fairbanks we have an army post, Fort Wainwright, and the doctors out there didn’t have one. I often had to carry our suitcase machine out to their hospital when they wanted to do an amniocentesis because we had one of the only real-time machines. The hospital had a compound arm machine at that time but the real-time was the real big thing. Of course, just like your computers today, every few years we got a new one and now I’m happy to say that we have another new one and it’s really great. As far as the RDMS credential, I gave up obstetrics about twenty years ago, and I gave up surgery about eight or nine years ago, and I gave that up because I’m getting older and I’ve been involved in cases where we had to tell a doctor that we thought it was time he quit doing surgery. I didn’t want to be at that end of it so I decided when I gave up surgery to go into ultrasound. I thought that was the ideal field for the older physician who didn’t want to retire, and I began to realize that the only credential for a non-radiologist and particularly for an older doctor - where we didn’t have ultrasound when I was a resident - was to get the RDMS credential. So I began to study and fortunately I didn’t have any false ideas about how much I knew. I hate to admit it publicly but there was probably a time where I couldn’t answer the question - how many vessels in the umbilical cord without doing a little thinking and research. But in any event, I studied and studied hard and I didn’t make the mistake that - I’m a Board Certified obstetrical doctor, I can pass that test. I know very well that I couldn’t have passed it, and I studied the physics and I finally took the exam. So I studied a year and passed the exam very easily. I have another interesting story I’d like to tell."

Martin Necas, RDMS, RVT: "Absolutely."

Dr. Joseph Allen Worrall: "Of course, I still do office gynecology, and I had an office nurse who wasn’t even a LPN, she was a nurses aid but she was a very bright, young girl and I have my nurse help me with ultrasounds. They get the patient ready, they enter the demographic data in the machine, and they do everything except the scan. This girl was very interested and she quickly picked up on this and pretty soon I was so impressed, she began to study and finally I let her start doing some scans. Now I always was in the room with her, and to make a long story short, she ended up becoming RDMS also. She’s not working with me any longer but she’s still in town. After she left, I do all my own scans and I’m very happy doing that and that’s it. So to make a long story short, the RDMS credential I felt was necessary because it indicated my commitment and interest in obstetrical and gynecological ultrasound."

Martin Necas, RDMS, RVT: "That’s excellent Allen, you’re quite unique, I think, in amongst the obstetrician-gynecologist community to actually hold a qualification like that. Of course for sonographers it is an absolute must to be properly registered and have a good background in the subject as well. Did you find the course of study for your qualification useful in your everyday practice?"

Dr. Joseph Allen Worrall: "Absolutely, as I said, I probably would have trouble answering the question - how many vessels in the umbilical cord and you can take it from there what I knew about the intrauterine fetus. Just because you’re an obstetrician doesn’t necessarily mean, particularly if you’re in my age group, that you remember a whole lot of what you learned in medical school. But now I feel that because of that study that I’m quite comfortable with the intrauterine fetus and the circulation of the prenatal heart and all those things that you learn in medical school that aren’t of any practical value in delivering babies."

Martin Necas, RDMS, RVT: "Absolutely, I think for a lot of sonographers these words will be very encouraging because often we work with doctors who have extensive experience in their area of specialty, and perhaps, we lose a little bit of foresight and don’t often realize that we too are professionals that know quite a bit about a very specific topic. So I would like to thank you for the interview and for being on our Advisory Board and doing a great job submitting images. It’s always a pleasure to see a picture from Alaska come up on our site. Thank you."

Dr. Joseph Allen Worrall: "Thank you."

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