From imaging addicts to counting CT slices, journalist comes full circle

September 1, 2006



Diagnostic Imaging gave me my big break in journalism in 1994, when I published my first professional article in the tail-end of the news section. For sentimental reasons, the title has stayed with me: "Aerosol clearance shows detox effect in crack smokers."

Admittedly, the subject of acute alveolitis in drug addicts wasn't terribly glamorous for this journalism rookie, but it was a step in the right direction. I had studied international journalism and always dreamed of becoming a war correspondent, despite my squeamishness at a mere blood test.

Instead, I landed in San Francisco working for DI as an editorial assistant. At first, the technical material was daunting, but staff editors gave me excellent instruction on how to marry my writing skills with clinical information from experts.

Two years and a couple of promotions later, my war correspondent dreams came true. Troops of HMOs were capitating physician payments and turning traditional fee-for-service models upside down. Covering managed care, I was right in the heart of politics, division, and revolution.

After attending the European Congress of Radiology in 1997, I packed my bags for London to explore the Old World my Irish family had fled. I covered anything and everything that needed to be written about-from telephone lines to film festivals to celebrity gossip.

But, increasingly, I found myself drawn back to medicine. Ultimately, in the fall of 2005, I moved back to San Francisco and rejoined DI as feature editor.

Since then, I have reported on technology I genuinely find fascinating such as 64-slice CT and tomosynthesis. More and more, I see how the work of radiologists has a personal and powerful impact on our lives.

It seems I've come a long way since the doldrums of acute alveolitis, and I look forward to following medical technology into the future.

-Ms. Hayes is feature editor of Diagnostic Imaging.