by nyceve
Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 08:12:48 PM PDT
Women will relate to this, so should men. It’s about an epidemic of very lucrative and unnecessary surgery in America.

The surgery is familiar, it’s called a hysterectomy. Insurance companies are eager to pay for women to be essentially castrated. Why? Because by getting rid of their reproductive organs, so the reasoning goes, a female will have less trouble (that’s spelled fewer medical bills) going forward.

Doctors love the surgery. I gather the learning curve is not steep. So for the physicians (many well meaning, undoubtedly) who perform this surgery, hysterectomy is a huge profit center.  A profit center they are loathe to give up. And can you blame them? It’s what Americans love most, easy money.

According to the CDC (The National Women’s Health Information Center), by the age of 60 a third of American women will undergo the surgical removal of their reproductive organs.
This is an 8 billion dollar a year industry benefiting  very powerful special interest groups–doctors and hospitals. Don’t everyone pile on, I’m not suggesting all doctors are on this gravy train, but plenty are. And for the most part, they are only doing what has been inculcated in them during their medical training.

Each year over 600,000 women in America have a hysterectomy, making it the second most common surgical procedure in the United States. Hysterectomy is recommended for a variety of reasons, however, 90 percent of the hysterectomies performed in the United States are classified by insurance companies as elective surgery.

A hysterectomy is elective when it is the woman’s choice and not considered medically necessary for her health. I’m not a doctor and I don’t intend to discuss female medical issues here, but you might like to know that more hysterectomies are performed in the United States than any other country in the world.

I have a friend who is an oncologist. An oncologist, as I’m sure you are aware, is a doctor who treats people with cancer. When I discussed this epidemic with my friend, he said, there is only one medical indication for hysterectomy–cancer.  Other doctors might add uncontrolled bleeding.

Again, I’m not a doctor, and I certainly don’t pretend to be. I know absolutely that there are significant medical indications for hysterectomy, but there is also ample evidence that the surgery is routinely recommended when other less invasive and less lucrative options exist.

So why should any of this matter to you? Here’s why.  Of course there’s the morality thing. Imagine a doctor slicing into the body of a trusting, sleeping patient for questionable reasons. You sure as hell wouldn’t be happy if that patient happened to be you or someone you loved.

You should be alarmed because we have an out-of-control health care crisis of epic proportions. Every dollar that’s spent on unnecessary surgery, and all the other, waste, fraud and abuse is directly contributing to the implosion of our healthcare sytem. Every day this institutionalized larceny goes unchecked Americans–all of us– are saddled with spiraling costs, skyrocketing insurance premiums and, oh yeah, a huge population of uninsured.

So just be sure the next time a doctor recommends surgery, that you really need it.  Be sure it is in your best interest. And if you find yourself sitting in the office of a surgeon, just remember the instinct is to sell you something.  The something he’s selling just happens to be surgery. I’m not suggesting all surgery is wrong or bad, just some of it.

By the way, there is a wonderful organization called the Hysterectomy Education and Research Foundation. This group of dedicated volunteers saved someone I know from an unnecessary hysterectomy.

Here is a link to their site:

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