Radiologists Integral to Emergency and Trauma Treatment

In 2010, Case Studies, Darden, Newsletter, Volume 2 Issue 2 by Addison Clark

When the overhead paging system at Mary Washington Hospital announces “Code Yellow,” emergency and trauma specialists spring into action. Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg’s (RAF’s) on-site radiologist dedicated to emergency and trauma cases is critical to their response.

The radiologist supervises CT scans and other medical imaging studies required in urgent cases, providing fast, professional interpretation of results. Medical staff members rely on these findings to help diagnose and treat potentially life-threatening conditions, ranging from acute traumatic aortic injury to intracranial hemorrhages.

Locally, diagnostic radiologists at RAF provide 24/7 coverage for three emergency departments.

RAF staffs at least one board-certified diagnostic radiologist on site at Mary Washington Hospital (MWH) dedicated to emergency and trauma cases, “around-the- clock.” This coverage is one of many criteria that helped the hospital achieve Level II Trauma Center status in September 2008, noted Daryle L. Darden, MD, board- certified diagnostic radiologist and RAF’s physician director of trauma imaging studies.

Through its use of a Picture Archive Computer System, RAF’s highly trained physicians also interpret other emergent medical imaging studies at Stafford Hospital, and MWH’s freestanding Emergency & Outpatient Center at Lee’s Hill.

The radiologist helps ensure that the correct studies are being ordered and protocols are being followed for patient safety and diagnostic accuracy. Interpretation and reporting of

results are performed immediately, and physician to physician consultations are available at the convenience of the medical staff.

In the past year, RAF physicians provided support and services for more than 125,000 emergency department imaging procedures.

Dr. Darden commented, “Our trauma patients arrive in critical condition where seconds and minutes make a huge difference in outcome. We maintain an active role in the trauma service by having a radiologist in person to review images, categorize injuries, and facilitate rapid trauma care. Once the patient is stabilized, the trauma surgeons often find it helpful to sit down with the radiologist and complete a comprehensive review of all injuries before planning the treatment and rehabilitation plan. Reading written reports from a computer screen is no substitute for this face to face interaction.”

In the development of the trauma center, RAF radiologists worked with trauma surgeons to create a comprehensive imaging process. This system of streamlined and standardized imaging protocols ensures rapid patient care and eliminates potential errors or delays that may arise.

“Our number one goal is high-level patient care and rapid turnaround of image interpretation,”  Dr.  Darden added.

The facilities and imaging studies performed at MWH are state of the art and equivalent to any metropolitan tertiary care center, Dr. Darden noted. Ultrasound, radiography, CT, and magnetic resonance imaging equipment are well utilized by the staff to facilitate care of trauma patients.

Radiologists at RAF are all board-certified physicians with a minimum of six years of specialized training specific to medical imaging. They have trained at top academic centers around the country, including Harvard and Mayo Clinic. The imaging techniques and methods used by RAF are a combination of practices brought to Fredericksburg from these programs. “We are current with the scientific publications in our field and always stay abreast of any new trends through communications with academic colleagues from our training programs,” added Dr. Darden.

RAF’s staff also includes vascular subspecialists including interventional radiologists as well as the community’s only board- certified, fellowship-trained vascular surgeon. The interventional radiologists use minimally invasive image guided therapeutic techniques to treat patients urgently as they arrive from the field.

These specialists at RAF’s vascular and interventional radiology practice, Virginia Interventional & Vascular Associates, are on call 24/7 for treating a variety of emergency and trauma cases such as solid organ lacerations, pelvic hemorrhages, and peripheral vascular injuries.

For more information, contact Daryle L. Darden, MD, at or call (540) 361-1000 and leave a message.


Pictured above is Dr. Darden, RAF’s physician director of trauma imaging studies