Monday, August 24, 2009

Controversial Monday: Elective Sonograms

Have you ever made a brownie mix with a caramel packet? You know the ones where you are supposed to make 4 even lines and then move through them the other direction with a knife?

I was going to talk about how many people actually do it that way.
And about if perfectionists follow directions. (they don't. necessarily.)
And if rigid rule followers are perfectionists. (they aren't. necessarily.)

But I changed my mind.

Last night we had some friends over. One of the ladies had her first daughter in Austria. She said that she had a sonogram every month there. Apparently the MD's doppler was tied up in his ultrasound machine and it was just in his office so they got to see the baby at every appointment.

Noah mentioned that recently they banned "non medically necessary" sonograms in CT, in order to crack down on all the "ultrasound boutiques" that offer sonograms by non-medical people for pay.

Although there is not definitive proof, the concern is that the extra heat and vibrations may cause problems for baby or mother. Especially with some of this super clear images some machines are able to get, and also the amount of time they spend taping.

From what I (briefly) looked at, no one is particularly concerned about the grainy 2D ones done at the MD's office.

So I thought, "good for CT! there should be some regulation for 'keepsake' DVDs, when safety hasn't been established". But then I read some more things.

The concern is that some of these laws are backed by the abortion industry because women who see their babies are less likely to abort.

Apparently, however, the prolife organizations who do ultrasounds in CT say that the law is not of particular concern to them. Their sonograms are done by medical professionals, all under the orders of a MD and are done for medical reason (often to establish gestational age and viability). They are quick and not 90 minute intensive videotaping like at the boutiques.

People who are paying 100s of dollars at a boutique are probably not ones who are contemplating abortion.

I think seeing your baby "close up and personal" before birth would be fun, but I am not a big fan of the boutiques. I just think it is just too sketchy and the money may take precedent over safety.

I am more torn over the sonograms being done at the doctor's office. I think the 20 week one is good for checking on things. And obviously there are other conditions or circumstances that warrent ultrasounds, but I think sometimes they are done too quickly at great cost to the health care system.

So while I am a big fan of freedom.
I am also a big fan of keeping medical costs down.

And while I do appreciate technology in healthcare (I work in an ICU)
I also know that it can be greatly abused for people's impatience and selfishness

And while I do admire health care professionals
I also know they can be swayed by "what the people want"
which drives up health care costs

(deleted rant about people who demand/expect all the most amazing technology, hospital perks, private rooms, microscopic incisions, scans, labs but also expect that nothing will hurt, that they will live and fully recover despite their horrendous lifestyle choices, can sue for whatever they want AND that none of these choices should in anyway affect their insurance premiums or if they don't have insurance, heaven forbid that they should get a BILL from the HOSPITAL? Talk about emotional trauma...)

So what have you heard about ultrasound boutiques, new laws, unnecessary medical procedures? What do you think?


love you. said...

I thought you took the rant out :)

Rachel said...

ooo, really controversial today, especially considering what you were going to have for the topic today. (I don't care if you follow the directions on the brownie recipe or not as long as I get to eat some of them.)

I have never been a fan of extra u/s (sonograms) and certainly not ones that don't have a medical reason. And now here I am, subject to them on a weekly basis. I have no idea how long it takes to do a MCA scan (middle cerebral artery) like I have to have but hopefully its 15 minutes, not 90. The research I've done talks about sonograms causing hearing loss for babies.

I do have to say that after having had two homebirths and very much an ability to say what I wanted to do and what I didn't want to do in terms of testing and so forth, there is GREAT advantage to living in this century, medically speaking, especially given our current circumstances. I would hate for that right to be taken away. I wonder what prenatal care will look like if universal health care happens.

peter said...

Lasik and plastic surgery strike me as being far riskier than an extra ultrasound. Neither is medically essential in most cases, but both are legal for anyone willing to pay for them. I think that's as it should be. Same with the extra ultrasounds.

I'm not sure the industry that doles out Viagra, Cialis, and Propecia should really be lecturing anyone about what is and isn't medically necessary.

Matt said...

I too liked the "removed-rant" rant - makes me wonder what the 'real' version was like :-)

As for extra ultrasounds or wanting to see the baby more, I think it would be cool, but I'm not interested in risking the baby's health over it. Think of it like a souffle - you're never supposed to peak in the oven when it's cooking, or it'll fall and be ruined. So as for me, I'm willing to wait until birth to see my kid - and will only get the ultrasounds suggested by the doctor.
(Note: I've never made a souffle, but I couldn't help but making a cooking reference with all of the 'bun in the oven' references people make)

Grandma Debbie said...

I'm not against elective procedures, but I'm all for keeping costs down. It seems to me that medically unnecessary procedures should not be covered by insurance.

Your little un-rant reminds me of the billboard I saw recently. It was an image of a Medica insurance card that was rather tattered. The billboard proclaimed, "Wear it out!"
I thought, that's just what we need - encouragement to increase health care coverage costs!

Why would an insurer be encouraging that???? Wouldn't they make more from the premiums if they weren't paying out so much? Am I missing something here?

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