Bruce J Hillman, MD

New blog post just released ... featured in the blog section.

New Narrative Non-fiction by Bruce Hillman coming in 2020:

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY:

Radiology in its Golden Era of Innovation 

 

The story of how the invention of CT and MRI revolutionized diagnosis and treatment and elevated radiology to a central position in modern medical care

     Through a Glass Darkly tells the inside story of the quirky investigators and their serendipitous discoveries leading to the introduction of CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) into clinical care. These "cross-sectional" imaging methods dramatically improved the safety and accuracy of medical diagnosis. Their translation to guiding minimally invasive, catheter-based treatments supplanted a host of risky, invasive procedures, greatly reducing the complications associated with open surgery and shortening the time required for recuperation.

     The 1973 advent of CT and MRI in the mid-1980s elevated radiologists from their offices in dank hospital basements to a central role in modern medical care. Demand for radiologists’ services rose rapidly in concert with imaging-related expenditures. Health care insurers and government regulators painted CT as the apotheosis of wasteful high technology medicine.

     Having ignored research training for decades, radiologists were ill-prepared to address these indictments. Rising salaries and cheaply attained academic renown dissuaded radiologists from the arduous task of conducting rigorous research. At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there developed a pervasive bias that radiologists were research dilettantes and “radiology research” an oxymoron. Federal funding of radiology research fell to dismal levels

     History repeated itself with the advent of MRI and swamped the few visionary voices warning that continued neglect of radiology research put patients at risk and threatened the viability of their specialty. A small group of radiologists organized to address the specialty’s deficits and confront the prejudices that disadvantaged radiology-investigators. Against the entrenched opposition of America's research elite, they would seek Congressional legislation establishing a new NIH institute dedicated solely to advancing biomedical imaging and bioengineering research.

     Readers of Through a Glass Darkly follow the maverick radiologists into university laboratories, corporate boardrooms, and the back hallways of the NIH. They attend the final session of the hundred-and-sixth Congress when Majority Leader Trent Lott squired to passage the radiologists’ bill establishing the new institute. They peer over President Clinton’s shoulder during his last working day in the Oval Office as he ponders whether to let the bill succumb to a pocket veto or ignore his highest-ranking science advisors and sign the new institute into law.