JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Hospital Corpsman Second Class Douglass Jones joined the Navy to challenge himself and develop skills that could one day be useful outside of the military. Fortunately for one service member, Jones was able to apply his newly learned skills in a very unexpected way.
The son of Navy parents, Jones traveled a lot as a kid and enjoyed growing up a Navy brat. As an adult, he wanted to share some of his own Navy experiences with his parents, so he enlisted as a Navy Hospital Corpsman and attended training at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He received further training in the METC Radiologic Technologist program and served as an advanced radiographer.
Soon after arriving at his first duty station in Okinawa, Japan, Jones was offered the opportunity to train as an ultrasound technologist. He needed little convincing. “Once I got my hand on an ultrasound probe, I had an instant passion for sonography ever since,” he said.
Jones returned to San Antonio to attend the METC Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (DMS) program. Jones and his fellow Air Force and Navy classmates learned ultrasound physics, sonography of the abdomen, small parts/basic vascular sonography, sonography of the pelvis, and obstetrical sonography.
During the seventh week of training, the DMS students were in the ultrasound laboratory practicing scans on non-DMS students for an upcoming practical lab test.
“I started to scan a student and was having difficulty seeing the middle portion of her kidney clearly,” Jones recalled. “I kept going over the middle area in different scanning planes and I started to make out the borders of what I had thought resembled a tumor that we went over in a lesson the day before.”
Jones called over his instructor, Tech. Sgt. Shelby Walter, to take a look at what he was scanning. She agreed that it looked like a possible tumor.
Walter said it is unusual for students to identify a pathology on their own and praised Jones for his diligence. “We were all very impressed that Petty Officer Jones was able to spot this, and his finding led to expedited follow-up care for the student that he was scanning,” stated Walter. “This level of attention to detail this early in his education should not be understated.”
Jones credits his instructors for giving him the tools that allowed him to recognize that something was not right. “The instructors here at METC do a great job of breaking down concepts, and I feel like they have really prepared us for what’s to come in phase II and beyond.”
This situation has reminded Jones of why he chose to become an ultrasound technologist in the first place. “As I was being taught how to scan, I was always told to be vigilant. Stuff (pathology) is always hiding.”