Looking for some input from the list as to what happens in other EDs. Where I'm working now has a few "Trauma Transfer" boards (attached). They've been mentioned on this list before, a few years ago. The idea is that it facilitates trauma patients having plain films, in particular cervical spine imaging. It allegedly improves the quality of lateral images as the trolley can be placed right up against the x-ray buckey and because the patient doesn't sink into the mattress like you would on a normal trolley this also improves image quality and reduces radiation exposure. They're also good for getting people into the CT scanner. Their introduction was driven by radiology, in particular one radiologist.
The problem is that their use has also been advocated with potential hip fracture patients. The AP pelvis can be done easily enough but the radiographers can't do the lateral hip x-ray properly. They were introduced before my time, but supposedly there's been a massive increase in image quality since the boards were introduced.
However you must feel sorry for the "poor f*@&ers" (apologies for language, but best way to describe this patient group) who arrive in with their broken hips and are thrown up onto these boards when what they actually need is a soft mattress. These are the last patients who should be put up on a hard "mattress" like this.
We're actively looking at ways to tackle this problem. Currently the ambulance crews put the patients on these trauma transfer boards when they arrive. That has got to stop. If, for technical reasons, the patient needs to be on the board in the x-ray room then we can slide them onto it just before the x-rays are done. If the boards can be avoided altogether, then that's even better.
My question is, how do other departments handle taking lateral hip x-rays? I haven't come across these board before anywhere else, and haven't really had a problem with lateral films but maybe I didn't realise what I was missing.