Welcome to crunch time

November 21, 2001

By Greg Freiherr, Editor, gfreiherr@cmp.comWe live in a dangerous world, a fact underscored by the host of theories advanced to explain the crash of a jetliner a few weeks

By Greg Freiherr, Editor, gfreiherr@cmp.com

We live in a dangerous world, a fact underscored by the host of theories advanced to explain the crash of a jetliner a few weeks before the RSNA meeting. The first thought was terrorism. That was followed by engine failure. Then came birds. Now it’s a loose tail fin and rudder. The only thing we know for sure is that nobody really knows what caused the plane to go down. And that is anything but comforting.

If it was terrorism, we could enact strict new regulations (although Washington bureaucrats would have to stop playing politics). If it was poor maintenance, airline companies could institute better controls (although those controls should already be in place). If it was birds, well, what are you going to do about birds?

We can rephrase this question to fit so many circumstances. Murphy’s law affects our professional and personal lives daily. Networks go down; engines in old cars, like mine, sometimes make noises; now and then it rains when the lawn doesn’t really need it. What are you going to do?

For each of the past 17 years I have looked forward to the RSNA meeting. In that respect, this year is no different. It is a chance to see old friends and business associates, celebrate how far we’ve come as an industry and look ahead to what amazing things are yet to be. But let’s face it; this year’s meeting will be a little different. Attendance will be down and we all know why.

We can choose to worry about all the things that could go wrong. We could bemoan the times. But, as my football coach used to say, we’re just going to have to suck it up.

We’re under pressure and we need to face that pressure. The rewards will be worth it.

In the next few days we’ll get a glimpse of the year ahead. We’ll look into the technological future of medicine, gauge the strength and weaknesses of competing companies, and gather the information we need to create our game plans for 2002.

If there is a silver lining to the current circumstances, it is that the RSNA meeting will be held this year and it will be held next year and the year after, and that the imaging community and its institutions are deep enough and strong enough to endure difficult times. In that respect, we are enormously fortunate.