You’ve gone to a doctor’s office to have a test run or even just a routine check-up and someone, a nurse or technician, finds something but won’t tell you what and tell you a doctor will have to do that so you wait and worry.
No, nothing like this has happened to me recently but did happen to me in Will’s pregnancy when his heart did not appear to be developing normally on the high resolution ultrasound at the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctor. (Everything was in fact fine.) And I know first hand the frustration of feeling as though your life (or your baby’s during pregnancy) is in danger. So, when my husband today emailed me a situation involving a person he knew from high school’s daughter that was awaiting results on an ultrasound, I responded realizing, this probably deserves a post here too.
In short, my husband’s friend’s daughter is pregnant and from what I can tell possibly in her third trimester. She went for an ultrasound and a technician advised her that something was going on or “missing” and she needed to go immediately to her OB. The daughter called her mother distraught and upset. Now the mother is extremely upset they would not tell her daughter exactly what was going.
The initial post did not indicate who would not tell the pregnant woman what was going on, once it was clarified it was the sonographer and the sonogram was not being done at the OB’s office (at a separate radiology office) I realized what was going on. Unfortunately, while a sonographer can see what is going on and recognize it, he or she is not allowed to give a “diagnosis.” Only a doctor is allowed to “read” an ultrasound. I have a friend who recently became a sonographer and she said it is agonizing to see something unexpected or unwanted and not be able to tell the patient. Particularly, she said, with miscarriages where she has to instruct the woman to go immediately to their doctor with no further explanation.
Of course, having been in the patient’s seat personally, I know all to well the minutes of waiting in agony to find out ANYTHING, especially when having endured unexpected results on an ultrasound in both a miscarriage and Will’s case. After Will’s case, I began to realize though that demonizing the sonographer/nurse/medical technician is NOT the answer. After all, those people are in quite a bit of trouble if they go outside the scope of their jobs and telling you exactly what is going on. Legally, they put themselves at a lot of risk if they do. They are doing their job to the best of their ability and because we only see the incident in terms of how it affects us, we don’t see that with the same clarity. Plus, let’s say someone DOES give you information they are not supposed to and you now have millions of questions regarding it that they can’t answer. Are you really better off knowing the information but not understanding what it means and not having someone immediately ready to help you navigate that?
For people of faith, those moments of uncertainty are best dealt with through prayer. I remember as I awaited another imaging room for hopes of better measurements asking Our Lady of Guadalupe to protect my unborn son. But regardless of our faith, sitting and cursing the person who cannot give us the information we seek, is not going to make the situation better. We all should be taking deep breaths, focusing on the positive and hoping for the best outcome.