Saturday, August 30, 2014

Many Women Have Died Unnecessarily Because of surgery with MORCELLATORS

Why does Morcellation surgery continue when we know it kills women?   Why do doctors continue to do the surgery?  The answer: profits for medical device companies, profits for doctors.

How Many People Have To Die To Show A New Surgery Technique Isn't Worth It?
By Harriet Brown
Prevention Magazine
May 2014

Dr. Noorchashm asks: "When new technology makes
medicine cheaper and more convenient, how many
patients have to die to prove it's not worth it?"

Petition by Hooman Noorchashm, MD, PhD:

My wife [Dr. Amy Reed] had a surgical procedure that spread cancerous cells throughout her body. She now has stage 4 cancer. Please sign my petition demanding the FDA stop a procedure that has spread cancer in thousands of women.

My wife Amy is a mother of six, and an accomplished anesthesiologist who helped treat victims of the Boston Marathon bombing last year.

Now, because of a dangerous, but standard, gynecological procedure her early stage cancer was spread -- causing stage 4 cancer. 
Last Fall, Amy went in for a routine hysterectomy to treat what we thought were benign fibroids, and had a minimally invasive “morcellation” procedure to remove her uterus. Little did we know that this procedure would end up spreading malignant cancer cells throughout Amy’s belly. What's more is that “morcellation” is totally avoidable and it has devastated thousands of women and families by spreading and upstaging dangerous cancers of the uterus and ovaries. 
Now we’re taking a stand in hopes of banning this surgery for good, and saving the lives of countless women and mothers. And the momentum is on our side.
Because of the momentum of this petition, numerous hospitals around the country have stopped performing this type of hysterectomy. Last week, a major health insurer -- Blue Cross Blue Shield -- announced that they would no longer cover the procedure. And Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures some of the surgical tools used in this procedure, issued a worldwide voluntary recall of the tools called "power morcellators," saying that they couldn’t guarantee that the procedure was safe for women to undergo.
The reason this surgical procedure is so controversial is that doctors have no reliable way of testing whether patients are at risk of having cancerous cells spread throughout their body during the surgery. That was the case with Amy -- in the process of removing her uterus, undetected cancer cells were spread throughout her abdomen region, and stage 4 cancer developed. The same has happened to scores of other women, globally. Women who went in thinking they were having a “minimally invasive” procedure, left the operating room with an advanced stage of cancer.
Last month, the FDA held public hearings on this surgical procedure. Amy and I traveled down to Washington, D.C., to talk about this petition and to bring Amy’s story to the attention of FDA and congressional regulators. They are currently debating whether to ban this procedure or not, and that’s why I need your help today.
I cannot tell you what this means to my wife, to me, and to our family. Together, we can help potentially save the lives of thousands of women moving forward. No other woman should ever have her uterine cancer upstaged to an advanced stage by a gynecologist practicing this totally avoidable procedure they call "morcellation."
Thank you,
Hooman Noorchashm, MD, PhD
Boston, MA

Health Alert: Many Women Have Died Unnecessarily Because Dangerous Cancers of the Uterus and Ovaries Are Being Spread using MORCELLATORS. Stop MORCELLATION in Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery. 

Friends of the Public,

Many women have been harmed and have died prematurely or unnecessarily because of a routine but avoidable gynecological practice known as MORCELLATION. This world-wide practice has devastated many families for well over two decades now.

More than 600,000 hysterectomies are done in the US every year. By the age of 70, one out of every three American women will have had a hysterectomy. About 90% of these surgeries are done for what is presumed to be a benign condition called fibroids. More and more of these surgeries are done with minimally invasive techniques.  Usually, to get the uterus out of the body using the "minimally invasive" technique, it is cut into small pieces with a machine called a morcellator.  However, a devastating problem happens if in fact the woman did NOT have fibroids – but if she actually had cancer.  Unfortunately, the tests that are done before a hysterectomy do not identify these cancers well.  Many gynecologists don't even bother getting any tests. In fact, morcellating cancer spreads the cancer inside the woman’s body.

This is called ‘up staging’ the cancer.
It is important to understand:

1) The average life span following accidental morcellation of sarcoma is only 24-36 months.
2) Only 15% of woman who have leiomyosarcoma (LMS) that has spread (stage 4) will be alive after 5 years.
3) Women with sarcoma who are morcellated are about 4 times more likely to die from sarcoma than if they had not been morcellated. 

This is an avoidable disaster.

This problem has been recognized for more than two decades.  A review of the literature reveals that 1 in 415 women who go for fibroid surgery actually has sarcoma.  This means that everyday 2-5 women in the US – and more around the world will have a deadly cancer spread because of morcellation.

This catastrophic problem has happened in our own family and we are fighting to stop this dangerous activity called morcellation.  A chance of 1 in 415 for such a devastating outcome is much too high to accept.  Women should be told the truth and the practice should stop.
Please help us bring an end to spreading cancer with morcellation.  There are alternatives.  Some surgeons have begun using a special bag to avoid spreading cancer cells.  Several of the reasons why this has not yet become commonplace are the fact that: a) bag morcellation takes more time – and time is money; b) lack of training; and c) lack of awareness.  Other people opt for a traditional open hysterectomy.  People need to understand their options – but – currently, most women never hear anything about morcellation or about the possibility of cancer upstaging. We need your help.
Please sign our petition so we can get the word out.  We want the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology to change this "standard of care" by ending the needless waste of life caused by spreading cancer with morcellation.

For more information and original references see: ) (also see: (also see:
The attached video below shows an example of morcellation

The following companies manufacture and distribute uterine morcellator devices:

1) ETHICON: Gynecare morcellator
2) Storz: Rotocut Morcellator
3) Richard Wolf Medical Instrumentation Company
4) LiNA: LiNA Xcise Cordless Laparoscopic Morcellator
5) Blue Endo MOREsolution Tissue Morcellator

Intuitive Surgical's Da Vinci Robot deserves special mention, as the frequency of robotic hysterectomies performed by minimally invasive gynecologists is currently on the rise across the United States. Note that Intuitive Surgical builds and markets the DaVinci robot, which is not itself a "morcellator". However, use of the DaVinci robot almost invariably appears to require that the uterus be minced up, or morcellated, into smaller pieces inside the woman's belly cavity in order to extract from the abdomen. A clear example is shown in the following YouTube video of DaVinci being used to perform a robotic hysterectomy and manually morcellating the uterus using the endo-wrist component of the robot (morcellation is being performed at minute 5:30 of the video).

 Without morcellation using equipment manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, robotic hysterectomies would, likely, not be possible using the DaVinci Robot. It is noteworthy that the DaVinci robot does not appear to have a readily available warning label advising against its use to morcellate tumors with malignant potential inside the body. The company's Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Myriam Curet, a surgeon herself, has been informed and advised of this severe hazard in the use of DaVinci for robotic hysterectomy and the absence of a readily available warning label.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

UCLA launches joint venture with Chinese firm to open lab in Shanghai

UCLA launches joint venture with Chinese firm to open lab in Shanghai

Clinical laboratory will provide more accurate diagnoses of cancer and other diseases.

Scott Binder, UCLA
The University of California and UCLA Department of Pathology have signed an agreement with Centre Testing International Corp., a Chinese firm, to create a company that will operate a clinical laboratory in Shanghai. The new lab will support clinical trials and enhance medical care for Chinese patients with cancer and other diseases.
The new company, CTI-Pathology/UCLA Health, is jointly owned by CTI and the University of California. The 25,000-square-foot facility — the first of its kind in China — will offer genetic and molecular diagnostics and other sophisticated tests that exceed the scope of the average lab in China, and UCLA pathologists will train Chinese lab specialists to accurately interpret the tests. The lab is expected to open in September.
The partnership is the first between a Chinese company and a U.S. academic medical center to create a specialized laboratory in China. The agreement was signed today at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in a ceremony that was videocast to China.
“This joint venture is founded on UCLA’s desire to build strong global relationships that, through education, research and service, improve the health of people and communities throughout the world,” said Dr. Tom Rosenthal, chief medical officer for UCLA Health System and co-director of UCLA’s Center for World Health. “UCLA has a genuine interest in elevating the level of medicine around the world. This is one way we can really make a difference in the quality of the Chinese people’s health care and lives.”
UCLA will oversee management of the laboratory to ensure that its operations meet international standards for quality, and CTI will provide capital funding and marketing expertise. The University of California Regents approved the joint venture on Jan. 22.
“We are extremely pleased that the UCLA Health System, UCLA Department of Pathology and the UC Regents agreed to partner with CTI to establish and manage our joint venture laboratory in Shanghai,” said Sangem Hsu, president of CTI. “Our collaboration will offer the people of China oncology, pathology and laboratory medicine services they can trust. Many of these services are not largely available in China and are needed by physicians and health care providers to accurately diagnose and treat their patients.”
The Shanghai laboratory will be electronically and digitally linked with UCLA — enabling physicians and patients to consult with UCLA pathologists — and with hospitals, clinics and other laboratories throughout China.
“CTI will be an outstanding partner in our effort to significantly improve patient care in China,” said Dr. Scott Binder, senior vice chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine, and director of pathology laboratory services for UCLA Health System, which performs more than 7 million tests and diagnose more than 90,000 tissue specimens a year.

Jianyu Rao, UCLA
Binder conceived the idea for a UCLA lab in China and made the first of several visits there in 2005. Dr. Jianyu Rao, a UCLA colleague who speaks Mandarin, helped move the plan forward.
“In the past, Chinese medicine focused more on treatment than diagnosis,” said Rao, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine and director of cytopathology at UCLA Health System. “Due to the rise of a more-informed middle class, the Chinese people are recognizing the importance of accurate diagnoses for their conditions.”
The partnership also has led to teaching exchanges between UCLA and China. UCLA has already hosted Chinese pathologists and technologists for training on specialized diagnostics for skin, blood and brain tissue and other areas. In turn, UCLA pathologists will travel to China to learn about diseases that are common there but rare in the U.S.
“Because pathology has a history of being undervalued in China, the country has a shortage of pathologists trained to diagnose and interpret complex test results in specialized fields of medicine,” Binder said. “Our partnership gives CTI and UCLA the opportunity to save lives by changing that.”

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Yet another scope...just 3 months since the last one?

Aug. 16, 2014
"I always wonder why they take pictures during colonoscopy but don't record on cd/DVD? If they do then if we go for second opinion, we won't have to go through colonoscopy again. May be something to ask."

The colonoscopy video is recorded on the hard drive. They don't want to give you a copy, so they claim it isn't recorded
v. But your point is excellent. It's also obvious that they would need the recording to defend themselves in court if the patient develops colon cancer.

Apparently most patients don't think this through, so the medics get away with telling this silly story about colonoscopy videos not being recorded.

I think most doctors would give the video recording to another doctor; they just won't give it to you.