Luis has dedicated his life to helping others in need, putting his skills to work as an active reserve and at UCLA as a compassionate CT technologist.
What are your job responsibilities? I perform computed tomography (CT) scans to produce cross-sectional X-rays of different areas of the body. From those cross-sectional X-rays, a three-dimensional image is made to help physicians diagnose medical problems. Working under the supervision of a radiologist, I prepare patients for CT scans by positioning them on the table and following safety measures to protect them from unnecessary or excess radiation. During the scan, I sit in a shielded room and monitor the CT scan images on the computer screen and monitor the patients, communicating with them through an intercom.
I also triage and coordinate the flow of patients through our scanner protocol exams, to figure out which exams are appropriate for the patient, provide a fast and efficient service to all our departments in the hospital, and check the patient's medical history for possible allergies, kidney function and recent radiology exams to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
How long have you worked at UCLA? I received my training as a radiologic technologist from Pasadena City College and began working in 1994 as a per diem X-ray tech with Scott Stall in 200 UCLA Medical Plaza and attained a full-time position in January 1995. I now work with four other technicians during the night shift in Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Emergency and Trauma Department and work with 20 to 30 patients nightly.
Can you tell me a bit about your position as an active reserve? Since I was a child, my family has taught me to take pride in everything I do. I served in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan as a noncommissioned officer (NCOIC) and have been in the reserves since 1999. I have served in different positions from platoon sergeant, assistant to our platoon sergeant, NCOIC of the radiology and training department and trained our new soldiers in radiologic procedures.
When I worked as a CT technologist in an Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, we used a CT scanner similar to the one I use here at the hospital. When I was stationed in the field in other locations, we used a deployable unit that was dropped or mounted in a truck and carried as needed. My experience in the Army as a CT tech and my position now at UCLA have allowed me to continue helping people in need and treating our patients the way I would want my family to be treated.
Is there a particularly memorable experience you've had at UCLA with a patient? Every time I am able to help someone to get healthy again is a reward in itself. Physical stamina is important in this job because we are on our feet for extended periods of time and must be able to position patients onto the scanner if they need help. I work in the Emergency Department and handle trauma cases, so sometimes it can be difficult. We have to do everything we can to make our patients feel safe even during a simple procedure. I find great joy in working for a team that strives every day to save lives and help our patients get healthy again.
What are your personal hobbies? I enjoy fencing and participating in hiking competitions. I also participate in a youth group in conjunction with the Los Angeles Sheriff Department to teach competitive fencing to kids in low-income families.