Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

SDMS Announcements

Open Letter to America - Lack of PPE for Sonographers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Ted Whitten

Donald J. Trump, President
Michael R. Pence, Vice President
All Federal Agency Officials
All State Governors
All State Agency Officials
America’s Medical Community

President, Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

DATE: March 27, 2020

The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) is gravely concerned by the insufficient supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available to diagnostic medical sonographers (“sonographers”) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physicians depend on the highly specialized skills of sonographers to obtain the medical images needed to accurately diagnose and treat patients. Sonographers use their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and physics to send high frequency sound waves (“ultrasound”) into the body and create vitally important medical images. These imaging exams are performed without ionizing radiation and are relatively inexpensive compared to advanced imaging studies using computed tomography (CT).

Sonographers have direct and often prolonged contact with their patients during an ultrasound exam. In the fight against COVID-19, ultrasound is also becoming a front-line tool (i.e., lung ultrasound) for physicians to treat patients, placing sonographers and other users of medical ultrasound at an even higher risk of exposure to the virus. While very important actions, such as the declaration of a National State of Emergency and the invocation of the Defense Production Act, have been taken, many sonographers do not currently have access to the proper PPE they need to keep themselves and their patients safe.

The SDMS respectfully asks that the President and federal and state agencies, in conjunction with the private manufacturing community, accelerate the production and distribution of PPE to those who are on the front-lines of this pandemic. We implore ​them to act with haste so that all our dedicated medical professionals can carry out their life saving work in a safe environment.

Additionally, the SDMS is calling upon the medical community to end non-essential ultrasound exams during the COVID-19 pandemic for the safety of sonographers and their patients, as well as to conserve the limited supply of PPE.

Sonographers play a vital role in healthcare and are deeply committed to obtaining the medical images needed for the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. However, sonographers should not be asked to expose themselves, their families, and potentially their patients and their loved ones to COVID-19 due to a lack of PPE or the ordering and performance of non-essential ultrasound exams.