Unnecessary Hystercetomies In Rajasthan - Only the Tip of the Iceberg

Posted by Sunil Shroff on Tue, Apr 19, 2011  
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Performing surgeries makes doctors and hospitals rich in the corporate and private sector. With increasing competition in the corporate sectors especially in cities surgeons are often found to perform unnecessary surgeries to meet the target they are given by the managers. Hence ‘removing of unnecessary uterus’ story from Rajasthan does not surprise me at all. This is only the tip of the iceberg – if someone probes further there will be many more stories of removal of unnecessary appendix, gall bladder, tonsils, prostates, ovaries  and any other organ that can be spared without endangering a patients life!!


I have always wondered why gynecologists remove the ovaries along with the uterus in anyone over 35 or 40 years. Their argument many times is that it is a prophylactic way of ensuring the ovarian cancers do not develop silently.  This I find an unscientific argument. The current literature does not support this argument as it is now clear that prophylactic removal of both ovaries without a medical reason decreases long term survival rates substantially and is harmful as far as long term effects on health and wellbeing is concerned. The risks include premature death, cardiovascular disease, dementia, Parkinsonism, osteoporosis and bone fractures, decline in psychological wellbeing and decline in sexual function. The hormone replacement therapy does not improve these long term adverse effects.


 I know of a girl who had her uterus and ovaries removed at the age of 22 years who is been on HRT for the last 20 years. She suffers from joint pains, vaginal dryness, loss of sexual pleasure and has mood swings all the time.  When I questioned her why the uterus and ovaries were removed she is so vague about the reason. I could perhaps understand uterus but why ovaries at such a young age. Why did the gynecologist at least leave behind one ovary?


Remember that in India the private health care is here to stay and takes the cake as far as healthcare earnings are concerned. The total GDP spent on healthcare is hovering between 6 to 7 %.and most of it is contributed by private medicine with less than 1% being contributed from the government.  Things are likely to get only worse as the competition increases.  The doctors from the private hospitals are many times on the ‘slippery slopes’ and with a weak regulatory body get away in most instances.  Wonder what action will be taken in the case in Rajasthan. Hope there is a follow up story.


So women out there if you are having your uterus removed ask the gynecologist to leave your ovaries alone – at least one of the two. 


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