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Letters to the editor

April 8, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Senate Bill 332 creates unneeded health scare

The pandemic has reminded us of the indispensable role of front-line health care providers and the stark reality of our own mortality. As someone who has faced her share of personal health crises, the challenges of the last 12 months have also reminded me of the critical role of advanced medical care.

My first health scare came when I was 41, but luckily it was only a scare thanks to my excellent doctor. My doctor advised getting mammograms annually starting at age 40 was prudent. The guidelines at that time were every other year, but following his advice, I went for annual screenings, and I'm so glad I did. Sure enough, a small instance of cancer was found but by embracing early detection, I was promptly treated and declared cancer-free.

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. I had to be resuscitated multiple times and spent a month in the ICU. After five months in rehabilitation facilities and another year of physical therapy, follow-up doctor visits and tests, I was able to return to work and resume most of my normal activities (barring the pandemic restrictions). To this day, my doctors monitor my heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, eyes, etc. to be sure there no other complications. From the beginning, scans were essential to help determine what needed to be done to keep me alive and today medical imaging helps confirm my status of good health.

I trust my doctors, but I also recognize 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 Arkansas' Legislature is considering a measure that puts this at risk.

Senate Bill 332 would allow unregulated third-party medical device servicers to work, unsupervised, on sensitive medical devices. This is concerning, as 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 have to second guess if a test has been compromised because of a non-regulated medical device community. I've had enough health scares to last a lifetime. The state Legislature should vote down SB 332 before it gives patients like me another.

Robin Hall Guadagnini

Fayetteville

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