Spanish Radiology in the second half of the XX Century: a view from inside.

Research paper by José J Bonmatí

Indexed on: 02 May '08Published on: 02 May '08Published in: European Journal of Radiology


Radiology was born in 1896 with the immediate recognition of the diagnostic value of X-rays in medicine and progressed throughout the XX Century with the increasing knowledge of its properties and clinical applications. By mid-century Radiology was a respected clinical specialty in advanced countries, the radiological report was a requirement in hospital practice and radiologists' opinions requested in scientific meetings. In the last decades of the century has had a spectacular expansion with the emergence of new imaging modalities and revolutionary technologies that have transformed the specialty worldwide. In Spain Radiology lagged behind needs and demand in 1950. Radiological practice was unregulated and performance of X-ray exams by non-radiologists was common. Teaching of Radiology was non-existent in Medical Schools or postgraduation. The diagnostic value of the specialty was unrecognized by physicians and the role of radiologists ignored. Most hospital radiology services were poorly equipped and functionally inadequate. The shadow of the Civil War (1936-39) was conditioning Radiology in the country. The point of inflexion in the development of Radiology in Spain was the inclusion of film reading sessions in the 1965 academic program of the Society of Radiology. It was in the presentation of cases at these conferences that Clinical Radiology found the finest demonstration ground and as a result was immediately adopted by radiologists and progressively applied in scientific meetings, clinical practices and training programs. Its influence was important in reforming hospital practice, legislation on specialization and education, as well as in national health care plans. At the end of the century radiology in Spain was at a par with the standards of other western nations. The author was a witness of the evolution of Radiology during his 50 years of professional life. This article does not pretend to be exhaustive in names or contributions. It is an overview of the period from the perspective of his past experience and seen from the distance of events that influenced the course of developments. I hope that those interested in the subject find that the effort has been worthwhile and helpful.