Frontline Heroes: Compassion for patients marks Md. radiology tech

EDITOR’S NOTE: During the coronavirus pandemic, there are people throughout the community working on the front lines. WTOP is honoring essential personnel through its Frontline Heroes campaign. Each day, WTOP chooses two nominees, awards each $100 and donates another $100 to Feed the Fight DC, a D.C.-based nonprofit supporting local restaurants, health care workers and first responders during the pandemic. Some of those honorees will be spotlighted on

One of the D.C. region’s many compassionate health care workers is WTOP’s newest Frontline Hero.

In his protective gown, behind face shield and mask, Peter Altemus, 33, of Clarksburg, Maryland, finds ways to calm his patients’ fears.

“I think with just words alone you can help them be a little more at ease … sometimes you can just talk them and help them through it,” said Altemus, a radiology technologist at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center.

peter altemus with parents
Peter Altemus with his mother, Marie, and father, Roger. (Courtesy Peter Altemus)

Altemus began his career just months before the pandemic struck.

“It was quite a shock … it’s been tough to say the least,” Altemus said.

But the rookie in the radiology department marveled at how his colleagues rallied in the face of the deadly virus.

“The camaraderie, all the way from upper management. doctors, surgeons, to my fellow techs has been incredible,” Altemus said.

Altemus is modest about his sudden recognition. He sees people pulling together to help each other during troubling times.

“It’s a great honor, it really is, but to be called a hero. I don’t think any of us really consider ourselves heroes … with all this going on and all the negativity, we see positivity. We see people coming together … everyone is really trying to be supportive and help everyone along the way.” Altemus said.

Know people who would be good candidates for WTOP’s Frontline Heroes award? Nominate them online, and their actions could be recognized on-air.

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