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November 21, 1996
My thanks to Ellen Goodman for "The Latest HMO Outrage: Drive-Thru Mastectomy" (Commentary, Nov. 18). Last week I became an uninformed victim of this inhumane practice at Kaiser-Permanente, Los Angeles. I want to acquaint women with my firsthand experience of this degradation and urge my fellow HMO patients to contact their Washington legislators. My mastectomy and lymph node removal took place at 7:30 a.m., Nov. 13. I was released at 2:30 p.m. that same day. I received notice, the day before surgery, from my doctor that mastectomy was an outpatient procedure at Kaiser and I'd be released the same day. Shocked by this news, I told my surgeon of my previous complications with anesthesia and the fact that I have a cervical spine condition, which adds an additional consideration for any surgery.
April 16, 1985 | From United Press International
Ann Jillian, nominated for an Emmy for her title role in television's "The Mae West Story," was recovering today from double mastectomy surgery, a spokesperson said. Her agent, Toni Howard, said the 35-year-old blonde will be released from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Wednesday. A friend said Jillian plans to return to work in the near future, after having had to forgo several TV roles due to her illness. Jillian also starred in the 1983 "Jennifer Slept Here" TV series.
April 10, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
A woman whose breasts were removed after she was mistakenly told she had cancer is suing the pathologist who made the misdiagnosis and the pathologist's employer. Linda McDougal of Woodville, Wis., filed the lawsuit Tuesday. She underwent a double mastectomy after doctors informed her in May that she had an aggressive form of cancer. The defendants are pathologist Margaret Cochrane and her employer, Hospital Pathology Associates. The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 from each defendant.
January 19, 2003 | From Associated Press
A hospital apologized for a laboratory mistake that resulted in the amputation of a healthy woman's breasts after she was mistakenly told she had an aggressive form of cancer. Dr. Daniel Foley, medical director of United Hospital, told KARE-TV that the St. Paul hospital had made changes so "this kind of mix-up would never happen again." Linda McDougal, 46, said she was diagnosed with cancer in May after her doctor had a biopsy performed because a suspicious spot appeared on her mammogram.
November 15, 1996 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A managed-care trade group tried to defuse growing criticism and the threat of federal legislation by recommending that health plans allow an overnight hospital stay for women who have a breast removed for cancer. All 1,000 members of the American Assn. of Health Plans--which includes nearly all of the nation's HMOs--pledged to abide by the recommendation against requiring mastectomies to be performed as outpatient procedures, the organization announced.
August 3, 1998
Chemotherapy given before breast cancer surgery--rather than after it, as now is commonly the case--permits more breast-conserving procedures, according to a new study in the August Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Bernard Fisher, scientific director of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, and his colleagues studied 1,532 women with early-stage breast cancer. Of the patients treated with chemotherapy before surgery, 67.
In the end, the decision was easy. After watching her mother struggle against breast cancer for 17 years, knowing that her grandmother, great-grandmother and four great-aunts all had died of the disease, Terri Giannetti--36 years old, married and childless--had her two healthy breasts cut off. She also had her ovaries and uterus removed during those seven hours of surgery last September. Gone forever is her chance to give birth.
July 24, 2000 | From Newsday
Most women at high risk for breast cancer who chose to have both healthy breasts removed in the hope of averting the disease are satisfied with their decision, according to a survey released Wednesday. Nearly three-fourths of the women were satisfied with their sexual relationships after the surgery. More than two-thirds said the surgery either did not affect or had a favorable effect on their feelings of femininity. Satisfaction levels did not fluctuate with the age of the women.
November 6, 2006 | Marc Siegel, Special to The Times
"Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy," a Lifetime docudrama, Oct. 23. The premise: Geralyn Lucas is just beginning a job when she's diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. The non-invasive cancer has an extensive intraductal component involving three separate areas of her breast. After debating whether to have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, she chooses the latter, with adjuvant chemotherapy.
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