Back in 1986, a joint meeting was held in Austin Texas to discuss the lawsuit against Medicare in an attempt to stop them from removing thermography from the official Medicare fee guidelines. Asked to testify before the State organization were Mr. Victor Yannacome, a trial attorney from New York City who is famous for his defeat of the U.S. Military and Dow Chemical for the use of Agent Orange, and Dr William Cockburn, a clinical thermographer from Los Angeles, CA.
Mr. Yannacone was the brains behind the lawsuit, which was at that time successful. Later new policy changes at Medicare found ways around the decision and the fee schedule was eventually dropped with no money available to fight on from the thermographers of the day, over $600,000 having been spent to stop Medicare the first time out of the hopper.
Following this meeting where Mr. Yannacone and Dr Cockburn presented the evidence and the strategy to stop Medicare, a dinner was arranged with two additional doctors who were also thermographers and very active in state and national politics. They were Dr Greg Johnson of Austin, Texas and Dr Charles Augubright of Corpus Christi, Texas. Dinner that evening with these four spirited and dedicated individuals was held at Mezzaluna's Italian restaurant in Austin. It was a most intriguing and wonderful experience.
Near the close of the discussions, Mr. Yannacone put a curious look on his face and suddenly blurted out with passion, "We must change the name of this industry. The word Thermography has unfortunately become associated with workers comp and personal injury fraud, and the industry will not likely survive that association. I have come up with a solution and a new name - DITI - Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging."
Soon the thermographic community, eager to foster new relationships and improve the overall image of the industry, was publishing many new scientific papers all using the term DITI.
While some individuals in the sales and marketing communities have continued to claim the term DITI as their own construct, the truth of the matter is that the term DITI was coined by a nationally renowned trial lawyer who was interested in seeing this magnificent tool protected, and its industry preserved.
We all, owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. Victor Yannacone and the early pioneers of Thermal Imaging.
by Dr William Cockburn, DC, FIACT, FABFE
Academic Dean - Academy of Medical Infrared Training