According to this study, 39.8% of ultrasound units tested across 32 hospitals exhibited transducer error. This is a sign of general wear and tear that made the equipment defective.
Although I trust practitioners to not intentionally cause harm, problems like this can make it so that a sonographer with best intentions could unwittingly expose a fetus to more ultrasound than they believe is safe.
This problem is prominent in hospitals, and some businesses opt to not calibrate their equipment at all. This saves them money, and is very legal.
Even for those that do calibrate, annual calibration is not enough (as the paper’s title emphasizes). If there were a law in place that required ultrasound machines be calibrated more often for all sonographers, it would necessitate STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs alongside answering safety concerns.
So, all of you physics graduates who are looking for work, push for this petition to go through. There are many ultrasound units out there needing to be calibrated for the ensured safety of mothers and children everywhere – but without legislative intervention, it is optional.
Please sign the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/health-risks-of-prenatal-ultrasound-the-urgent-need-for-more-research-and-regulation to call attention to this issue.