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Simple Lead Markers Make Dangerous Medical Mistakes Less Likely

Many hospitals today contain a hundred millions dollars or more in advanced medical equipment. Such investments help save the lives of patients, whether by enabling earlier diagnosis of deadly conditions or contributing to advanced treatments.

There are also many types of medical equipment and supplies, however, that play extremely important roles while bearing much smaller price tags. Just about every hospital or medical imaging center in the United States today, for example, insists on the use of x ray markers whenever such diagnostic procedures are conducted. These small, simple tools save lives in their own unique way and also provide important benefits of other kinds.

A Simple Solution to a Formerly Common Problem

In the not so recent past, one of the most common preventable medical mistakes involved the misinterpretation by a physician of the layout of an X-ray image. Far too often, doctors would believe they were looking at images representing the right side of the patient's body when the opposite was actually the case.


Misconceptions of this general kind regularly led to everything from mistaken diagnoses to botched surgical procedures. In some cases, patients even passed away as a result of this general type of problem.

Such issues almost never arise anymore, thanks to a very simple precaution that is now almost universally mandated. Small x ray markers made from lead are positioned and double-checked before any radiography procedure is conducted. As a result, a permanent, and hopefully accurate, indication of the orientation of the resulting image is left on every one.

Markers Provide Other Types of Helpful Information

Today, x-ray markers are so commonly used for this purpose that every radiographer will normally own at least a few sets. In many cases, xray markers are also used to impart other details to images, including:

Initials. It will often be helpful to have a record of the identity of the radiographer who made a particular image. Lead markers that are shaped like the initials of a particular professional can just as well be used as those that bear a simple "L" or "R" indicator.

Date. Having the date an X-ray was taken imprinted directly on it can be useful, too. In this case, sets of markers that can easily be updated to reflect the current date will be used instead.

Some hospitals will even have radiographers use markers that indicate the name of the facility in question. In any case, these simple, inexpensive lead markers consistently provide important service of several kinds.

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