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Revolutionizing Emergency Room Care

Bedside Emergency Ultrasound

Dietrich Jehle, MD, a pioneer in bedside ultrasound, talking with a patient.

UB doctors were the first to perform bedside ultrasound in emergency rooms, now a nationwide standard for care.

The once-unheard-of practice of bedside ultrasound is now standard in emergency rooms nationwide as the result of the curiosity of one man, Dietrich Jehle, MD.

During a tour of German hospitals in 1982, Jehle was intrigued by the use of bedside ultrasound machines for trauma-patient evaluation. At the time, bedside emergency ultrasound was not done in U.S. hospitals, and Jehle wondered why.

Never reluctant to challenge the status quo, Jehle began efforts to introduce the practice into American emergency medicine. His investigations bore fruit in the 1990s, when UB doctors became the first physicians to perform trauma ultrasound in the United States.

Jehle’s efforts to promote trauma ultrasound as the standard of care resulted in some of the nation’s first investigations in the field, including the first study of the use of ultrasonography in blunt abdominal trauma by emergency physicians and the first emergency medicine study of the use of bedside ultrasound to evaluate abdominal pathology.

Today, under Jehle’s guidance, UB offers the only training program in emergency ultrasonography in the country that prepares medical residents for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) certification examination.

Considered the pioneer in the use of bedside emergency ultrasound in the United States, Jehle, vice chair of UB’s Department of Emergency Medicine, has produced seminal literature in the field. This includes co-authoring the first textbook on ultrasound in emergency medicine and a more recent textbook, “Ultrasonography in Trauma: The FAST Exam.”

“Ultrasound in emergency medicine was in its infancy when he started teaching people,” says G. Richard Braen, MD, chair of the department. “He’s pushed it to the extent that everybody wants to train doctors in it in their residency programs.”