Updated: Mar 16
Wouldn't it seem odd if you were pregnant and went to the doctor and they used a stethoscope to hear your baby and determine if everything was ok instead of an ultrasound? I think so.
So, why do doctors and medical practitioners use an antiquated device that was invented in 1816, over 200 years ago, that hasn't changed much at all, when we have superior (by far) technology that is better?
Ultrasound Technologists, AKA Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, use ultrasound technology instead. Ultrasound sees, hears, measures and safely captures images of the fetus and all of the surrounding structures in motion.
With the increased availability of small, handheld, user friendly ultrasound machines that can even work on a smart phone, is there any excuse for doctors using a stethoscope anymore?
I've read the some doctors don't use stethoscopes because they don't know what they are listening for and, even worse, some doctors pretend to listen when they place the stethoscope on your skin because that's what they were told to do. I don't know about you, but I want a doctor to do whatever it takes to find out what's wrong. Not just go through a protocol.
So, why do doctors use a stethoscope instead of an ultrasound to hear the fetal movements? To listen to the heart? To listen to the abdomen? To listen to the carotid arteries? Why aren't they using ultrasound that not only listens, but also sees and measures and takes a picture and video? I don't know.
What's even more concerning to me is that doctors that use stethoscopes that don't use ultrasound, seemingly have a tendency to order CT scans instead.
CT scans, with and without contrast, average between 6,000 and 60,000 X-rays in about a one minute scan. Some doctors still CT pregnant women. The harms of radiation for a fetus are well documented, so why are doctors doing this?
When stethoscopes are used in place of an ultrasound and CT scans are ordered in place of an ultrasound, the potential for harm is great.
Using a stethoscope for diagnosis instead of an ultrasound means disease can be missed.
Using a CT for diagnosis routinely instead of an ultrasound means excessive radiation exposure that can lead to cancer and other disease.
My goals is to reduce the use of outdated tools like stethoscopes, reduce the use of potentially harmful tools like CT and increase the use of ultrasound as a primary screening tool in medical practice. I think if the world can catch on, medicine will evolve more closely from medical "practice" to medical "precision."
Why CURE Doesn't Use Stethoscopes
We don't use stethoscopes because stethoscopes can't see. Stethoscopes can't see and can only listen and the sounds are usually vague. Ultrasounds can see and hear inside the body in motion with great, precise detail and the volume can be turned up. Loudly.
My two cents? Encourage doctors to learn and use "Ultra" Scopes - Ultrasounds, instead of stethoscopes so that we can be productive at the doctor and not waste time with protocols.
If you go to the doctor and they use a stethoscope, ask yourself why they don't they use ultrasound. And make then ask them why.
For more information, visit https://www.cure.edu