Having an ultrasound is one of the most exciting things that happens throughout your pregnancy. They only happen a few times: at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 20 weeks, and they are a special moment to share with family and friends, as well as a time to check up on the baby and get some peace of mind that he or she is okay. If your ultrasound scan doesn’t go well, or you receive poor treatment from an ultrasound tech, there are steps that you can take to rectify any problems.
On one of the baby forums I visit regularly, I saw a woman posting about the horrible treatment she experienced at the clinic where she got her 20 week ultrasound. After a long wait (over an hour), they finally got into their appointment just before lunch time. The ultrasound tech mentioned that she hadn’t eaten all day, then rushed through the ultrasound appointment, and said “this baby just won’t cooperate with me!”. Unsurprisingly, it appeared like an excuse to skip over many parts of the baby’s anatomy so that she could go out for lunch. Their scan lasted less than 10 minutes be-fore the couple were sent on their way. My 20 week ultrasound took at least 30 minutes, with the tech scanning and turning the ultrasound wand to see as much as possible of my baby. Even though my baby was turned in an awkward position, my ultrasound tech was still able to see almost everything that he needed to record.
To make matters worse, during their scan another tech came in and began discussing another patient’s files with this woman. Talk about a huge breach of privacy. The whole situation just sounded like a complete nightmare, as well as aspects of it being borderline illegal. While an ultrasound scan is a medical exam, it is also an opportunity for the pregnant woman and her family to be re-assured and excited about the baby.
The way she dealt with the situation was exemplary, and I believe these tips are useful for many women who may receive less than desirable treatment at their ultrasounds.
First, she called the manager of the clinic afterwards, and left a message reporting the treatment that she had received. If you receive poor treatment in an ultrasound, always speak to the manager and let them know what has occurred.
Second, book in another scan to rectify any poor quality images or missing information that may have resulted from a rushed ultrasound. It’s important for your baby’s welfare that an ultrasound scan is careful and thorough – particularly at 20 weeks when the baby’s anatomy is being checked for abnormalities.
Third, if you ever are exposed to any other patient data or private information, report the violation to an appropriate person such as the clinic manager or, if you receive no assistance from the manager, a Privacy Commissioner or official Privacy organization. Medical and patient privacy is nothing to sniff at, and if your ultrasound clinic does not respect the privacy of its patients, they should not be in business.
The ultrasound scan should be a time of relief and joy as you see your baby on the screen. You may have worries that your baby has abnormalities or is not growing, but worrying about the treatment you receive from the ultrasound clinic itself should be the last thing on your mind. Always take the above steps to ensure that offending technicians are appropriately disciplined, and that poor treatment does not carry on to the next woman to receive her ultrasound scan.
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