Protection From Zero Risk

Thank goodness we have licensed physicians to protect us from innocuous and relatively inexpensive ultrasounds. The article (reg. required) from the Dallas/Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Medgadget):

Four keepsake ultrasound imaging companies -- three in Dallas-Fort Worth -- have agreed to stop offering souvenir videos of fetuses without physician supervision and approval.

Saying that ultrasound machines are not toys, Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Thursday that the companies had agreed to comply with Texas law, which requires physician oversight. The companies also cannot advertise their services as having entertainment value without the need for physician involvement.

"They can't just leave a physician out of the loop and make money doing it," said Tom Kelley, a spokesman for the attorney general's office. "The ultrasound must be done as a medical necessity and not just for the mother to have a souvenir or keepsake."The four companies are Womb With a View of Arlington, Fetal Fotos of Frisco, First Look Sonogram of Plano and Clearview Ultrasound Center of Austin. Womb With a View agreed to pay $2,500 to the Texas Department of State Health Services to cover investigative costs and $5,000 for attorney fees and investigative costs; the others will pay costs of $3,000 each.


Since 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against using ultrasound equipment for nonmedical reasons.

Texas requires a doctor's prescription before ultrasound equipment can be used. But enforcement has been difficult because the businesses are not licensed nor routinely inspected.

Storefront sonogram businesses have been popping up nationwide.


Brink said keepsake video businesses sometimes don't follow medical guidelines for using ultrasound. Often they use multiple scans for longer periods than sonograms done for medical reasons, he said.

"They're trying to get quality pictures of the fetus in various positions, and they're not really thinking about medical necessity," he said. "They are just trying to get a good picture."

Over the past year, a handful of complaints have been made against the ultrasound imaging businesses, Brink said.

The Department of Health Services investigated Womb With a View on April 13, 2004, and found it was conducting fetal ultrasound procedures without the supervision of a licensed practitioner and without a prescription, according to the agreement. The business was also promoting ultrasound imaging procedures for "keepsake purposes or emotional and maternal well-being which are uses not approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration."

The investigations have led state inspectors to examine how the businesses got access to the devices without a medical director involved, Brink said.

The bottom line is that the sonogram must be done for a medical reason because the health and safety of the mother must be considered, Kelley said.

"These business can't operate in the way they were operating," he said. "They have to comply with the law."

Just in case there is any confusion, ultrasound imaging has zero contraindication and is considered completely safe. I defy anyone to produce data that claims ultrasounds have any health risk whatsoever.

In other news, Texas lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would make it illegal to listen to your own heartbeat via stethoscope without physician supervision.

Share this

Over Taxing Points of

Over Taxing
Points of Interest * What's it take to get into one of this administration's Townhalls? * Political Friendster. Brilliant work. * Strong Mayor proposal for Dallas, NO. Not as written by Beth-Ann Blackwood. Even after listening to her defend her...

"I thought it was bad enough

"I thought it was bad enough having the government “protect” me from risky stuff. Now I get protected from stuff that’s not dangerous!"

This isn't about protecting consumers. Like many other supposed "consumer protection" clauses, this is actually about protecting the government-enforced monopoly benefactors. This is also the entire reason for the AMA's existence.

The best line is this: The bottom line is that the sonogram must be done for a medical reason because the health and safety of the mother must be considered, Kelley said. What? It boggles the mind that people like this are allowed out of the psych ward, much less quoted in news articles. Yes, that is "the bottom line", alright. Ignore the fact that nobody seems to be able to list what the "health and safety" concerns might be. I place blame squarely on the one who did the reporting. Jesus, ask a question or two...

“They can’t just leave a

“They can’t just leave a physician out of the loop and make money doing it..."

I believe that would be the risk.

That's bizarre. I really

That's bizarre. I really don't know anything about ultrasound, and if I'd just read the article, I would have come away with the impression that it has some kind of risk. I thought it was bad enough having the government "protect" me from risky stuff. Now I get protected from stuff that's not dangerous!

I am sceptical about claims

I am sceptical about claims that ultrasound is 100% safe (to the baby; I don't think it harms the mother.)
But I comment to raise a different issue. Are there legitimate uses of the technology, such that one could make a pretty good claim for having an ultrasound kit in the toolbox? Maybe veterinary uses, or, idunnoknow, diagnosing engine fatigue, or cleaning machinery?
For those of you who think it's risk free, are you interested in offering ultrasound insurance?

Texas. The same state where

Texas. The same state where it's illegal to sell books offering legal advice, because the book would be practicing law without a license, and my job title (software engineer) would be illegal.

Yup, if you're a professional and you don't like all that inconvenient competition, Texas is a dandy place to be.

Proof once again that many

Proof once again that many conservatives are not fans of free markets, but rather crony capitalism/corporate welfare.

Damn communitarians.

There Oughtta Be a

There Oughtta Be a Law
Chichester, NH: Businesses banned from "glaring" lit signs at night, so Chichesterans can get a better view of the stars....

Biotech, No Smoking, and

Biotech, No Smoking, and Ultrasounds, and Judges
Links about gen-engineered food, judicial confirmation battles, anti-smoking laws, and anti-ultrasound laws....