More calibration for ultrasound equipment is needed
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.
There are no laws requiring that US units have routine maintenance
As you may or not know, ultrasound units can be purchased by anyone in the public regardless of education or certification. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) requires calibration for membership, but being a member is not required to practice sonography. This would be all fine and dandy except that some untrained people open up mom-and-pop ultrasound shops at the mall.
This is concerning because people without technical backgrounds may not know the importance of maintaining their equipment with routine calibration and maintenance. Over time electronics becomes damaged and defective, lowering image quality and other such things.
As of today, even equipment maintained by hospitals are not calibrated frequently. Lacking calibration will lead to lowered image quality, which may then lead to more ultrasound being used to compensate. Further, uncalibrated machines may misrepresent relative risks.
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 problem. Units for Ob-Gyn use should be held to the same safety standards as X-Ray and other radiology equipment.
Sign this petition to vie for sonogram safety!
Please sign this Change.org petition to vie for changes to ensure prenatal ultrasound is safe in clinical practice.
Numerous potentially harmful side effects of fetal-US exposure have been found, but more research is needed to investigate risks associated with practice. Scientists cannot perform epidemiology because practitioners are not required to collect detailed data about their scans.
Also, did you know that there are no regulations requiring ultrasound equipment be maintained and properly calibrated?
These issues need to be addressed urgently for the safety of our kids.