2022 Top Doctor: Jimmy Saade, M.D.

Editorial StaffMarch 3, 2022
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Diagnostic Radiology

Med School/Year Graduated: University of Arizona, 2005

Years in Practice: 8

Did learning how to read scans and X-rays come naturally to you, or was there a learning curve? Is it something some medical students struggle with?

Image interpretation did come easily to me, because I was an emergency physician first and have extensive clinical experience. Students [can] struggle with image analysis, but radiology residencies range from five to seven years of training, and we do a good job teaching.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen on a scan?

There are numerous unusual things I’ve seen as an emergency physician and a radiologist. The most memorable are the bizarre injuries professional athletes get from distorting their bodies to reach peak performance, which very few people are able to do.

Has radiology technology remained consistent over the last two decades, or have there been exciting leaps forward?

Radiology has always been at the leading edge of technology. The past few years have seen marked leaps forward in the use of artificial intelligence. As a medical journal reviewer, I get the benefit of peeking into the future.

Do you ever consult with patients directly on the results of their scans and X-rays, or is that info usually conveyed through their referring doctors?

My practice is unique in that a third of my time is spent performing procedures and direct patient care. I greatly enjoy direct patient care and I get to apply my emergency medicine skills as a radiologist.

You specialize in musculoskeletal imaging and teach it at Creighton University. What is one medical principle you wish to instill in your students?

The most important principle is that patients come first. Never forget we are treating a human being and not just images on a screen. Additionally, when you realize your life is not about you, life becomes purposeful and meaningful.

You went to ASU for undergrad and U of A for medical school. Does the sports rivalry register in your world?  

It’s like being the sibling of two athletes. You root for both of them while enjoying the rivalry. Since I care for patients from all walks of life and athletes from a variety of professional teams, I stay impartial.

What kind of hobbies and interests do you have outside medicine?

I’ve always enjoyed training my body and mind to the limit. As a teen, I was the Lebanese swimming champion in the 50-meter butterfly. I still practice a variety of sports [including] mixed martial arts, weight training and tennis. I enjoy reading about religion, philosophy and leadership.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

Predator versus prey documentaries. The apex predators have incredible skills and abilities, but most of their attempts end in failure. With each failure they grow hungrier and fiercer. Inevitably they succeed and their triumph is glorious.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

I would be a mystic philosopher, professional athlete and stand-up comedian. I haven’t ruled these out for this lifetime, either.