Sonography program offers imaging services to the public
Hearing a baby’s heartbeat for the first time and the thrill of seeing their face while still in the womb are moments a mother-to-be will treasure forever. Students in the Weatherford College Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program make these memories happen.
“That’s the biggest reason I chose this program,” said first year sonography student Catherine Matthews. “I was at an OBG’s office and I saw couples so excited because they were going in to see an ultrasound technician to find out the sex of their baby or to have a picture. I was sitting there thinking, ‘I want to do that one day, bring that happiness to someone’s life.’ There are ups and downs, but you just take the good parts and run with it.”
Matthews has always found interest in the ultrasound field and found a multitude of possibilities with the WC sonography program.
“You have so many different fields of study you can pursue: abdomen, OBG, vascular” she said. “There’s just a wide spectrum of what you can do with this two-year program. I think it’s pretty amazing you scan through with sound waves and get images.”
Both Matthews and fellow first-year student Sarah Reedy praised their instructors for their organization to make a difficult subject become attainable.
“You know exactly what you’re getting into,” Reedy said. “The clinicals are really like what it’s going to be when we have a job one day. I like going and working with real patients.”
Under the supervision of a registered instructor, students in the WC Sonography Scan Lab provide a range of OB imaging. During first and second trimester, they offer traditional 2D ultrasounds, and from 28 to 32 weeks provide 3D/4D ultrasounds.
“Please be aware that we cannot guarantee good images with the 3D/4D exams,” said Brandie Bach, sonography instructor. “There are many factors that affect the quality of the images, including the position of the baby.”
Matthews agreed having first-hand experience of how many different positions a baby can be in making it difficult to capture a clear image.
“You think you’re going to get it in one try, and then the baby flips around,” Reedy said.
For Lacey and Brandon Cheek, their 3D sonogram performed by a WC sonography student was a success. They even found out they would be expecting their second son very soon.
“The 3D is emotional,” Lacey said. “You can see them moving. And finding out the sex of the baby is emotional too.”
Since their insurance only covers two sonograms, the couple had resigned themselves to waiting until the baby’s birth to find out the gender. Then they heard about the WC program. Lacey said paying $50 for a sonogram that would have cost nearly $200 in the doctor’s office was well worth the trip from their home in Fort Worth.
“I’m going to tell everybody about this,” Brandon said. “It’s great for the price and it’s just like going to the doctor.”
First trimester scans are free, second trimester scans are $10 and third trimester 3D/4D scans are $50, unless a second trimester scan was done at WC in which case the price is $20.
Sonography students can also provide color Doppler studies for vascular imaging. Vascular, abdominal and thyroid exams are $10.
Sonograms are by appointment only and are only offered during certain times of the year. Call the lab at 817-598-6494 and leave a message. A student or instructor will return the call to schedule an appointment if they are available.
Bach reminds those interested that they must currently be under the care of a physician and have already seen them for the current pregnancy.
“Our sonograms are for educational purposes, and not intended to be for diagnostic purposes,” she said. “Also, you are allowed to bring two people to your ultrasound with you. As our lab space is limited, if you bring more they will have to rotate their time during the scan.”