Every day we wake up to something on the news that tells us "it" could cause cancer or the latest vaccine could trigger autism in young children or that the flouride in our water is now bad for us. I am not an expert on any of the afore mentioned issues, but the most recent stories that have come out regarding keepsake ultrasounds is an area where I do have an opinion as well as information to share with those of you interested in the services Lifetime Imaging provides. At a minimum, I want to arm you or your loved ones with an important question to ask before getting an ultrasound that is technically not medically necessary.
If you read my most recent blog, please do if you haven't and thanks if you did, you will recall that I am very fortunate to have actually studied Radiologic Sciences in college and thus receieved a degree from a four institution. I then went on to pass my ARDMS boards, Abdomen and OB/GYN, after hours of studing and attending preparation courses. The amount of hours and time I put into learning this skill and the proper way to administer an ultrasound is countless. My clinical studies were very intense and hands on with some of the most difficult exams I may ever encounter within my field. The last thing I ever want to hear is that someone is administering an ultrasound, medical or non-medical, who has no formal training other than the "day" of training by the medical device company who sold or leased them the machine.
Quite frankly, this is an insult to our profession and the thousands of us who are true practioners of sonography.
Please keep in mind that I do not have an issue with someone owning a company and employing a trained sonographer(s) to administer the ultrasound(s). There are many companies out there who do just this and they are wonderful. In fact, we have had the honor of being mentored by Unique Ultrasounds in Temecula, CA who operates this exact way. I do believe this business is a great opportunity to provide families a way to bond earlier with their children and make it feel more "real" until the babies are born.
Now back to my opening statement about a news story that comes out every day with a warning about something or some product. I actually had a text from my brother-in-law this past week where he heard the Smiley Morning radio show talking about an article/story by Mimi Elkalla, Eyewitness News in Bakersfield, CA and the U.S. Drug and Food Administration issuing a warning when it comes to keepsake ultrasound photos. If I remember correctly, Smiley and his wife recently had a child and during their pregnancy had a keepsake ultrasound performed. Too bad it was not performed by his now hometown company, Lifetime Imaging :(.
I think this article is great! Yes, I said it. I think this article is wonderful for those of us who are registered sonographers who operate non-diagnostic businesses. Some of you may think I am crazy by saying that but this article does nothing but reinforce that any family who goes to have an ultrasound that is not medically necessary should only go to a location that employs licensed and trained sonographers to adminster the ultrasound. We are even more unique since I own and operate Lifetime Imaging.
Let me ask it this way, "Would you go to get your car worked by someone who has only had one day of training?" "Would you go to get your hair cut by someone who learned in one day?" NO! I firmly believe that anyone who read this would answer no and therefore families should NOT go to a business where they provide ultrasounds by those who are not licensed! Specifically, they should be licensed by ARDMS. I will talk more about that organization here in a minute.
I would also like to share another link with you from the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) that is their official statement on "Keepsake Ultrasounds".
"The AIUM recommends that appropriately trained and credentialed medical professionals (licensed physicians, registered sonographers, or sonography registry candidates) who have received specialized training in fetal imaging perform all fetal ultrasound scans..."
To be fair and honest, they do not encourage Keepsake ultrasounds but they do further indicate..
"Although the general use of ultrasound for medical diagnosis is considered safe, ultrasound energy has the potential to produce biological effects. Ultrasound bioeffects may result from scanning for a prolonged period, inappropriate use of color or pulsed Doppler ultrasound without a medical indication, or excessive thermal or mechanical index settings. The AIUM encourages patients to make sure that practitioners using ultrasound have received specific training in fetal imaging to ensure the best possible results."
There you have it, from a third parties' mouth and not just Lifetime Imaging's who does have skin in this newly created game.
What you should always ask before you schedule a non-medical ultrasound?
We get a lot of calls for people looking around the Indianapolis area at locations for ultrasounds and the one question I never hear is, "Are you or do you employ registered utlrasound techs to administer the ultrasound?" At first I was confused why people would not ask this question and then it hit me.
"We don't know what we don't know"
I took for granted that people would know to ask if their ultrasound tech was certified. Well now I am here to provide you with a great link to verify just that before you book an ultrasound appointment. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) has a database search on their website where you can type in the last name of a person to verify if their license is current and in what proficiencies. Check out the picture of my current registration. I will be putting this link on our website so if people do not want to schedule their ultrasound with Lifetime Imaging, then they can atleast ask the right questions and verify the information.
ARDMS Directory of Registrants Lookup
I hope this helps in your future search for a company to provide your ultrasound and we hope that Lifetime Imaging will be your provider of choice.