In a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer’s world, there is nothing more rewarding than to be able to provide expectant parents pictures of their soon to be bundle of joy. They get glimpses of their little one while he or she is growing in the womb. From the first heartbeat video to a 3D image taken weeks before the baby is due, parents and loved ones can view the development and growth of their little one. This is without a doubt one of the highlights of graduating from an online medical sonography program.
However, life does not always go as expected and a scan may not go as previously planned. The sonographer may realize that there is an unknown complication occurring with the pregnancy. Should the professional with a bachelor of science in diagnostic medical sonography inform the parents, or should their healthcare provider inform them of the complication? This can be a very delicate situation for medical sonographers because there are different regulations and laws pertaining to the subject of diagnosing unknown complications. These laws and regulations are dependent not only in the state, but also the facility where the scan is performed.
Should the Sonographer Tell?
There are some cases where the sonographer may want to inform the parents that an abnormality has been discovered. It is pertinent that this information is delivered as gently as possible. It should then be recommended that the parents speak to their healthcare provider for further information. Although this method helps to open communication lines between parents and physicians, it can cause the parents to worry unnecessarily if the complication is not life threatening or serious.
On the other hand, staying silent is sometimes dangerous, and it can be difficult for some ADU Online graduates to remain silent.
Regardless of the decision to tell or not, every ultrasound procedure needs to be handled with tact and respect. If the sonographer is not sure what the image is showing, he or she should seek the opinion of a radiologist in charge before speaking with the parents. Even though all parents want to stay informed of the growth and development of their child, speculating about a complication when there is not one is not a good idea.
Observe and Not Diagnose
It is an important distinction between the things a sonographer can see on ultrasound and what the sonographer concludes. What this means is that a sonographer can capture images and make observations, but they should not diagnose these images based on what they see. Although not all of those who are in the profession follow this rule, this is the rule that is the most effective.
It should also be considered that in this age of technology, the parents will more than likely recognize any complications on the ultrasound. Sonographers often talk about their findings while the ultrasound is taking place.
A sonographer should work to maintain the parents’ comfort during the procedure without acknowledging any problems or complications. If the patient makes a decision based on an unconfirmed diagnosis, the facility and the sonographer could face a lawsuit. If asked, the sonographer should always refer parents to their healthcare provider.