Patients Don’t Need Extra Health Scares

My first health scare came when I was 41. Following my doctor’s advice, I began mammogram screenings at 40, and I’m so glad I followed my doctor’s recommendations! The guidelines at that time were every other year, but my doctor felt getting annual screenings was the prudent thing to do. Sure enough, a small instance of cancer was found, but thanks to early detection, I was promptly treated and declared cancer-free. Fortunately, I remained that way for the last 18 years.

Robin Guadagnini, Patient Advocate

Then five years ago, I was in the hospital for a blocked bowel when it suddenly ruptured, and septic shock set in. The experience was harrowing, and I had to be resuscitated multiple times and spend a month in the ICU. I spent five months in rehabilitation facilities to re-train my body and to teach me to walk again. Physical therapy continued after I returned home. Every two months for a year, I had follow-up of doctor visits and tests. Today, I am happy to report I am back to work full time and have resumed most of my normal activities. To this day, my doctors continue to monitor my heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, and eyes to be sure there are no other complications. From the beginning, scans were vital to helping my doctors determine what needed to be done to keep me alive and are used on me today to confirm my status of good health.

Throughout my journey, I’ve learned to trust my doctors and their recommendations– but I also recognize that their expertise and insight depends on information from fully functional medical imaging devices that allow them to follow disease progression, monitor for recurrence, and evaluate how well a prescribed treatment is working. The ability to do this literally saves lives every day– so it’s upsetting that some are pushing policies that would put these treatments at risk.

The “Right to Repair” movement is advocating for unregistered, unregulated third-party medical device servicers to work, unsupervised, on sensitive medical devices. This is concerning because improperly repaired devices can harm the patients that depend on them or the technicians who run them. Beyond the increased risk of bodily harm, faulty servicing can also lead to poor quality images. In a best-case scenario, poor image quality just means the patient needs to repeat the procedure, a process that costs time and money. But far more troubling is the possibility of a doctor missing something. I can’t imagine how different my life would have been if my doctor had missed my early breast cancer!

I trust my medical community and the machines and tests they use to keep me “alive and kicking.” I don’t want to second guess if a test has been compromised because of a non-regulated entity repairing medical devices. If you agree, please join me in signing our petition advocating that all servicers meet the same quality, safety, and regulatory requirements, including proper training, adverse event reporting, and registration to ensure that patients are receiving safe and accurate scans.

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