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Writers caution against ‘keepsake’ ultrasounds

We are writing in response to the Feb. 8 business article announcing a new facility called “Showtime, Baby!” We feel it is our obligation and responsibility to inform the public about some important facts regarding the use of ultrasound.

The article states, according to the United Imaging Partners’ Web site (that franchised and certified the company), that extensive studies have found ultrasound has not shown to cause any harm to the mother and baby.

We encourage you to investigate that statement and review the Web sites of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine ( www.aium.org), the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography ( www.sdms.org) and the United States Food and Drug Administration ( www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/fetalvideos.html).

The FDA cautions mothers against having ultrasounds for “keepsake images,” stressing that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures are not entirely known. The FDA views this as an unapproved use of a medical device.

The sonography society opposes the use of ultrasound solely for entertainment purposes and states to use two-dimensional, three-dimensional or four-dimensional ultrasound to only view the fetus, obtain a picture of the fetus or determine the fetal gender without a medical indication is inappropriate.

As registered diagnostic medical sonographers, we support the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine’s position that “the use of ultrasound without a medical indication is inappropriate and contradicts the responsible practice of medicine.”

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves and is highly operator dependent. An AIUM press release stated, “4D technology is capable of producing intensities eight times higher than those commonly used by medical professionals.”

Although the general use of ultrasound for medical diagnosis is considered safe, ultrasound energy has the potential to produce biological effects. Ultrasound bioeffects may result from prolonged scanning time, inappropriate use of Doppler, or excessive thermal or mechanical index settings.

Our belief is that this service places an unnecessary risk on the mother and fetus. The potential danger of a poorly performed and misinterpreted study does not warrant use of ultrasound in this capacity.

Before purchasing this service and signing waivers, please make certain that this powerful diagnostic tool is in competent hands and being used for appropriate reasons.

It is each parent’s right to make the decision for themselves and their child; we believe it should be an informed one.

‘Giveaways’ do nothing to reward wise spenders

I want to express my outrage at the latest President Obama giveaway, aka The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. Since when is it the government’s (taxpayers’) responsibility to bail out those people who have made bad business decisions or who have chosen to take a risk and take on more house than they can afford?

Why are we once again rewarding irresponsible behavior at both the expense of those who have been responsible and the future generations who will be paying off this $75 billion welfare handout?

OK, so some people are “under water” with their mortgages. That’s the risk we all take when we make a significant purchase such as a house. Anybody who has ever taken out a loan and bought a new car, for example, knows that as soon as you drive it off the lot you become “upside down” with your new purchase. Are we to bail out this group of people next?

Yes, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances such as the loss of a job or a health issue that can happen to anyone, causing them to fall behind with their payments. This is where a savings cushion (remember those?), family and friends come in to assist those in need. The lending bank also can renegotiate the terms or otherwise offer relief.

Meanwhile, I have purchased a modest house well below my means, made timely payments, didn’t accumulate excessive debt through home equity lines of credit and, overall, have been responsible with my finances. Yet I will receive nothing for doing things the right way. But I will be asked to help out those who haven’t been responsible, which will have the effect of enabling more bad behavior and risky deals. Where is our sense of accountability in all of this?

Does anyone else see a pattern emerging here with Obama’s new vision of compassion, hope and change? He did say he was going to “spread the wealth around,” and that’s exactly what’s happening.

And to think that he’s been in office only a little more than one month and has managed to enact more than $1 trillion worth of freebies and giveaways (oops, I mean investments).

Legislation would ensure competent human services

If you look across our society, there are many fields that touch upon people’s lives at critical times.

Most of those professions are regulated through licensure, allowing for appropriate accountability while ensuring public protection. Pennsylvania ensures competency and provides accountability for nail technicians, hairdressers, massage therapists and even car salesmen.

Yet, there is a critical work force for which we do not ensure basic competence or provide for public accountability. That work force is those people providing human services: child welfare, adult protective services, residential treatment workers, rape crisis workers. These workers have no basic competency requirements.

By introducing state House Bill 353, Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, has taken a huge step toward ensuring taxpayers’ dollars are appropriately expended for critical services provided by an appropriate work force.

Resident shows support for judicial candidate

Our judicial system has failed us. Hardworking Luzerne County voters have been embarrassed not only locally but nationally.

It is time for a fresh face. We need a respectable, knowledgeable and honest individual who possesses strong moral values and integrity. All these qualities exist in Attorney Jennifer Rogers, candidate for judge of Luzerne County. She is hardworking, caring and fair to all.

Jennifer Rogers will bring about accountability, restoration of justice, pride and honesty to the Luzerne County bench.

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• Fax: 570-829-5537

• Mail: Mail Bag, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 1871 1

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