The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR), in coordination with Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, recently hosted a panel discussion on the important role of interventional radiologists on trauma teams responding to mass casualty incidents.

In trauma situations, interventional radiologists are frequently called in to stop active bleeding without a single stitch. In the past these patients would be sent to surgery, but now, through an interventional radiology (IR) treatment called embolization, the IR physician stops the bleeding using the tiny incision and a thin catheter to deliver clotting agents to block the arteries. This procedure is often used to stabilize the patient so it is safe for a surgeon to go in and repair the damage caused by the trauma.

This procedure was performed on Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., after he was shot on June 14 while practicing for the congressional baseball game. He discussed his care during today’s briefing, which can be viewed on SIR’s Facebook page.

Joining Reps. Scalise and Love at the briefing were Matthew Mika, director of government relations at Tysons Food who was also shot on June 14; Rep. Scalise’s doctor, Arshad A. Khan, MD, FSIR, a senior IR at MedStar Washington Hospital Center; Mr. Mika’s doctor, Libby Schroeder, MD, FACS, a trauma surgeon at George Washington University Hospital; Saher S. Sabri, MD, FSIR, director of IR at MedStar Washington Hospital Center; and Susan E. Sedory, SIR executive director and panel moderator.

“Rep. Scalise is living proof that physicians like interventional radiologists are an essential part of our life-saving healthcare system,” says Rep. Love, who represents Utah’s 4th Congressional District. “With the growing shortage of graduate medical education residency slots across the nation, I am working to solve this issue so that we can fill the gap in the education of our needed health care providers.”

The panel also explored issues that limit access to adequate and timely trauma care, including training gaps in rural and underserved areas. Rep. Love has sponsored a bill, H.R.1167, the Enhancing Opportunities for Medical Doctors Act, to help fill that gap by expanding access to residency slots among rural programs, new medical schools and new primary medical specialties, like interventional radiology (IR).

“IR has a vital role to play on the trauma team, but many rural areas do not have access to any interventional radiology care, let alone the 24/7 IR care needed in a trauma center,” says Sedory. “That is why Rep. Love’s bill is so important. Through the reallocation of training slots to new and underserved areas, her bill would create more opportunities for patients to obtain access to critical and necessary care.”