The Superheroes In Our Midst

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By Bill Algee, CRA, FAHRA

One of my themes of the year was to focus our abilities to be and recognize those superheroes in our midst. While reflecting on this topic, I received a text message stating that the 7 year old son of one of my co-workers had been rushed to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. He had been diagnosed with the flu which resulted in him having significant breathing issues and (as I write this) is now on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) device to give his little lungs a rest, so hopefully he can have a full recovery.

While this may not seem like a great start to an article, it really made me think about how many patients indiscriminately come to us with what they think is a minor illness and within minutes, the situation can turn tragic and life changing, not only for the patient, but for their family and our staff. We talk about this sort of thing from time to time at staff meetings, but do we really stop to think about what is happening when these patients walk in our doors?  In the book “The Last Lecture,” author Randy Pausch, professor at Carnegie Melon University, shares with his students his last lecture about life. The book wasn’t really for his students; rather it was a gift for his kids.  What struck me in the book was a passage where he reflects on being diagnosed. He describes in detail how he simply walked in for a CT scan and walked out with pancreatic cancer. I just stopped reading and sat there for a second taking that imagery in. I immediately shared it with my staff at a department meeting. It caused some to stop and think about the importance of the work they do each day. And for me, how I need to support that work, and each of them individually. It instantly brought us all back to our purpose with respect to our patients and our need to focus on them as individuals rather than the “next” CT, MR or Ultrasound…you get the idea.

So where does being a superhero fit into this? Our patients expect us to be their superheroes. They come to us in their most vulnerable time, and it’s our job to take great care of them individually and support them in ways THEY can’t imagine. This is challenging, but even as I sit at my desk every day, not providing any direct patient care, my focus is really on providing them with excellent care through the equipment I recommend and purchase, the staff I hire, and the leadership decisions I make every day. So, I am asking you, when you get caught up in all the “stuff,” think about how you are being a superhero and I’ll bet you will be surprised how much better you feel about your day.

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

“My Hero” – Foo Fighters

Bill Algee, CRA, FAHRA is the 2018-2019 president of the AHRA Board of Directors. He is the director of imaging services at Columbus Regional Hospital in Columbus, IN and can be reached at


  1. Great thoughts Bill! We have an awesome Responsibility that cannnot be taken lightly. Bring your best every day as the Hero you are!

  2. Be an everyday hero. Things we think are ordinary have a bigger impact. As you point out no one really comes in for testing thinking it is going to be awesome but we have the opportunity to make the experience wonderful regardless of the result.

  3. Great article, Bill. Our patients rely on us to do great work EVERY DAY. Thanks for reminding us of that!

  4. It is nice to have these reminders from time-to-time. It give us a refresher on why we are here and do what we do.

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