ULTRASOUND INJURY- enough is enough I CANT BREATH

A sonographer said that; I have been consistently performing sonography for roughly 30 years.  I scan hearts, vessels, babies, peds, breast and mostly anything in between.  Lately, my body is telling me my days are numbered (lower back especially, but also right shoulder and arm).  What I am curious about is this.  Can we advocate for reasonable expectations regarding the limitations and allowances with reference to the ever increasing BMI of our patients?  While I value ergonomic machines and chairs, the stretches and the notion of micro breaks, they don’t make my patients any skinnier and thus less hard to scan.   A brief impromptu survey of all last week’s patients leads me to the conclusion that the average BMI was 38.1!  That’s just the average, numerous were in the 40s and sadly, a few in the 50’s.   I take my job very seriously and a good 18-22 week anatomy scan takes me about 35 minutes.   Often, I have to hook my feet under the ultrasound system to keep me in place while I push to get good images.  That’s 35 minutes of some crazy pressure. Three of those in a row is torture.  It would be really fantastic if there were guidelines or strict policy in place to protect sonographers.  This is really abuse.  I have no backing from our radiologists (they refuse to dictate “limited due to body habitués” and frequently reprimand for diminished quality).  Neither, do I have administrators that are willing to stand up to the rads. I am desperately seeking support from our governing bodies to help implement safety efforts to reduce injury.  Just like a CT table has weight limits, so does my arm.  There should be some standard clause stating that categorically severe and morbidly obese patients should have limited expectations with regard to diagnostic sonographic imaging. I am done trying not to hurt people’s feelings, however, those with poor lifestyle habits should not be allowed to ruin mine. I look forward to all your suggestions or even just commiseration.

THIS IS MY ANSWER ;

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I can hear you, I can feel you, and you push on the exact painful issue in my life as a sonographer .I have been sonography since 1984. Trust me no body listen including our union, csdms, Sdms, Aium, Acdtt and all other bodies.

 They just talk, and talk and talk, doing lecture and more lectures and they refuse our lectures; they have lunch and recommendations and more talk, then no result because nothing will be implemented, and they cannot force anything.

We have some sonographers who resigned due to this issue, some injured and some working with chronic pain, MSK –RMI injuries are so common.

 I know some sonographers who let go of job , and fired because they have MSK injuries . They take you when they need you and smile in your face, and then dump you like garbage when you get injured or complain about pain.

 So many clinics still hiring unqualified sonographers with no ARDMS, or Sonography Canada, because they pay them no benefits, low salary, and if you ask them why you do that. They will tell you that they have someone over look their work, and they will write the exam in few months etc, but they never do until many years. I have people here in Canada still doing MSK exams without passing the RMSKS EXAM at all, some did and failed. I found More than 400 missing pathology in 3 years in one clinic only, Imaging Whats going on with other places.

 When the Collage send an inspectors for check up, they call the clinic! To prepare ahead of time ,so when the inspectors  arrive to the clinic already have last minute cleanup ,they hide the unqualified sonographers or those who are not registered , and they don’t show their work .So the good sonographer like you kept on the front line without any back up.

Sorry to tell you that you will get so many letters from supervisors and agencies to give you a positive brainwash and tell you that they are doing this and that but trust me 90% of them just talk, lies and only few are true but they are overshadows by bad managers and bad clinic behaviors who pay them bounces to keep the herds on short leash.

You will get so many emails offering you so many solutions and none of them will work because nobody gives a dam (care) about us, as Michael Jackson said.

Membership of so many sonography society are good for education for sure, but they charge allot, take our money for membership, more money for CME, pay for membership names and search, sale you calenderers, t-shirts and motivation mugs, then ask you to repeat the exams every 5 years so they make more money, no body tell a radiologist to go and sit for exam again! They charge you to sit for exam and go to conferences so they can talk more, with no result for important issues like yours,

 I have heard same lecture from same people more than 15 times during my life a s sonographer in different towns, different countries since 1984. Some lectures done with techs that wasn’t born when I started my ultrasound Currier.

The only one who can resolve this issue is you ,by talking to  the owner, director, supervisor, and radiologist who are in charge of this issue .and then spell your gut out in the discussion room in polite diplomatic way ,and tell them  why it is important to the quality of work and your health . If they don’t listen you better look for a new place to work.

Discuss the issue of MSK injury and why it is an investment for them in the long run , as more of you get hurts , the more will leave and lose their jobs  .I know someone who was injured and she got a letter from WCB to alter her job , and do less work, then when she took her vacation the clinic  let her go , they told her that they don’t have enough work, and that was a lie.

 They lie so they don’t get any legal issue. I know many sonographers work without radiologists on site and they do exams that require radiologists on site. Some radiologists report case in different province or from India for cases done in Ontario!

 Some clinic here in Canada do inguinal hernias that was sent by physiotherapists or chiropractic technologists, our AHS and MOH sent a letter 3 years ago, and mentioned to all clinics that no one is allowed to order a inguinal hernia ultrasound if he/ she are not a pediatrician or a surgeon, and that was because 80% of missing pathology .But 90% of these hernias still been sent by regular doctors and they cheat in the request order, the doctors and the clinics put the request under abdominal wall mass, R/o Soft tissue lump? Groin mass, R/o pathology please. When one of the sonographer reported a normal us for mass , and she said that she cannot do us for hernia, because it is illegal to do so as it wasn’t ordered by specific specialist as per AHS , they gave her so much problem and told her to do it and say coincidence finding.

 Lies, cheat and stealing the people tax money that is the norm nowadays and they have answer to any legal questions rise from any complain, that’s how I look at it.

But what you are going to do, no union and no body to protect you and if you complain you will get fired or let go of work using excuse like , the clinic have not enough work.

Whatever you do to change and bring about positive change you will be labeled as trouble maker, and if you complain about your injury or MSK strain issue they will call you weak ,and getting old, or cannot handle her job.

 I have a great sonographer friend she started telling the clinic about this issue that you are dealing with, the clinic cut her full time post to 2 days a week now she is looking for other job.

Many sonographers hide this issue and they don’t complain fear of losing their hours. Three times in my life I fought about this issue but I let go as a supervisor because they don’t want someone telling them what the right way to do things, they don’t want someone tell them don’t do this or that as it is illegal.

I ask all those who retired to write about this issue, point the finger and give example you have nothing to fear, I want people to start suing and take those clinics to court in USA as in Canada it doesn’t work we always follower of USA  .I want sonographers to start me too movement about unfair treatment and ask for a change in the WCB, labour issues and job protection .I want sonographers who start sonographers life matter , our health is matter or injury is matter ,and the RDMS, SDMS, AIUM, CAMRT, ACDTT,CARDUP AND all other agencies must start the sonographers injury day , a day for sonographers all around the world to out this day aside to talk about this issue reduce work load at that day and make change, expose this important issue in media not just in conferences.

 Enough is enough, we are going back home tired, injured, stressed-out, no work- life balance, depressed, working in pain in a world that do not care. When we tell them that ,they say you can leave, take a long vacation, resigned , or give you so many excuse , They should be fired and leave not us.  Even with Covid -19 we, we are  still seeing  clinics do not give an  extra 15 minutes to clean up, and take your breath ,and always push extra case to sonographers, urgent case to fit in between , and they get the extra money , but for you is an extra injury and stress.

For the patient is an extra infection hazard when there is no time to clean up. patients come in without masks, We need health service that appoint sonographers like you to be on the inspection board and sent to the clinics to pin point problem like this beside the infection control and other protocols, and not just focus on documentation and have a lunch with the manager and go away.

We need sonographers like you to raise hell on earth, and the authority should give a sonographer like you the upper hand to inspect and write a report, inspector who have ability to close a clinic if they don’t follow the rules, then the managers will listen because we need rules to hit them in their pocket book and tell them that we are watching and if you don’t care for infection control, MSK injury and quality exam you are out.

It is fact of life sometimes a patient is so large we can’t see his/her pancreas; t is not our fault, if he/ she cannot fit in the MRI machine due to body habitués ,we cannot hammer them in to fit them ,so the radiologist have to say that it is limited exam .If the patient had food or gas some areas will not be seen , and the exam will be repeated but for body habitués we only do what we can and what we can see. The radiologists society must talk about this issue and not just come to sonographer conventions present a lecture take their gift and leave, then might answer one or 2 questions about this issue and all they tell you ,OK, we will bring it up to the authority , we are moving forward and we will make recommendation ,bla,bla,bla……

Many sonographers are nowadays leaving the OBS US. Some refuse to do more than 5 obs us a day and that all they do 5 OBS-detail scan  a day.4D scan must be done only for important pathology and not for fun and picture ,this is have to stop, and the patient can go to designated 4D clinic that they do these exams as entertainment , I don’t recommended myself .Share the work as I know so many sonographers that they friend the manager and the receptionist to push all big large patient and difficult patient to one sonographer only to deal with ,forgetting that you are a human too and not superman.

 Why MRI, or X-Ray department in so many places put in charge of the ultrasound department! Why in so many places they ask the sonographers to do x-ray too , so the clinic can make more money,  while the multi task sonographer injuries goes unreported ,these practices must be stopped as I see them allot in Singapore, the Middleast , Asia, some part of north Canada and rural USA. This is 1% of what I have to write if you need more ask us , ask people like us to talk about the issue .LET US MAKE A REVOLUTION  – I CANT BREATH , YOU ARE HURTING ME, STRESS ME, WE ARE INJURED AND WE NEED HELP AND SUPPORT , ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Steve Ramsey – Okotoks – Alberta – Canada

drsteveramsey@gmail.com 

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