Articles Posted in Gynecology

fb-300x160The kids may obsess about social media platforms. But just how much do patients want them to snoop into their most personal medical information, accessed due to hidden snippets of computer code embedded on the sites of some of the nation’s biggest and most respected hospitals, as well as facilities purportedly dealing with women’s reproductive health?

The cyber culprit that is taking heat from patient advocates is, of course, Facebook, the online giant built in part on its founder’s troubling axiom, urging his colleagues to “move fast and break stuff.”

Facebook not only provides a place for folks to glow about their latest vacations, share cat and dog pictures, and wish each other well on birthdays and other important occasions, the company has become a technology and online advertising titan. A key to its success rests in its capacities to track users via bits of code that users pick up like microbes or fleas when they troop through the Facebook site — or visit online clients of the company’s sweeping advertising enterprises.

SBClogoThe University of California has agreed to pay yet more to hundreds of women patients who have credibly accused a UCLA gynecologist of sexual wrongdoing, with the now $700 million in approved settlements setting what is described as a national record for the largest such payouts involving a public university.

bruinslogo-300x214The UC system, one of the nation’s largest and highest ranked in academic achievement, says it must issue medical facility bonds to cover the staggering costs of claims against Dr. James Heaps and his sexual misconduct between 1983 and 2018 because the institution has exhausted its insurance coverage, the Los Angeles Times reported. University officials called the actions of the onetime health service and specialty doctor practicing at its renowned hospital “reprehensible and contrary to our values.”

The latest, increased UCLA payout of $375 million (for 300-plus cases) comes atop previous settlements of $244 million (for 200 cases), $73 million (for 5,000 claims), and $2.5 million (a single sexual assault incident), the newspaper reported.

abuse-150x150Women suffer significant, sustained damage from head traumas inflicted on them during domestic abuse, and victims themselves, doctors, law enforcement, and too many others have underestimated the severity of this problem.

Here is the harsh reality of too many women’s terrifying experiences, as reported in a tough-to-read but important New York Times magazine article that quotes, among others, Eve M. Valera, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and a leading researcher on traumatic brain injuries among survivors of domestic violence:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in five women in the United States experience severe intimate-partner violence over the course of their lifetimes, resulting in physical injuries, most commonly to the head, neck and face. Concussions are likely to appear with alarming regularity. Every year, hundreds of concussions occur in the [National Football League]; thousands occur in the military. Valera’s estimated number of annual brain injuries among survivors of domestic abuse: 1.6 million.

bruinslogo-300x214The City of Angels has become an epicenter of big settlements paid to women harmed by doctors in university health care systems.

The University of California at Los Angeles disclosed that it will pay $243 million to 203 patients who asserted they were sexually mistreated by James Heaps, a gynecologist who was affiliated with the school in various capacities for decades. As the Los Angeles Times reported of the claims against Heaps, including those that  led to the filing of criminal charges against him:

“Heaps faces 21 felony counts — including sexual battery by fraud, sexual exploitation of a patient and sexual penetration of an unconscious person — involving several female patients. He could be sentenced to more than 67 years in prison if convicted of all charges. He has pleaded not guilty and insists he acted in an appropriate manner, his lawyer said.”

michigan-300x158Michigan’s top academic institutions now share a dubious distinction, with the University of Michigan joining Michigan State University in agreeing to pay out whopping settlements totaling almost $1 billion for big numbers of claims of sexual abuse by doctors working with the schools’ athletic programs.

UM has just agreed to pay $490 million to more than 1,000 men and women, who said they were sexually assaulted by Robert Anderson, who served as a university doctor for four decades and examined and treated students and notably players with the school’s vaunted football and other teams.

After a whistleblower stepped forward and publicly accused Anderson, who is dead, the university said it would investigate its onetime medical staffer. Scores of people told a law firm hired by UM that the doctor had sexually mistreated them, including with invasive, unnecessary, and outright perverse procedures and exams.

gymnaststestify-300x171Grownups got sordid reminders of how much work still must be done to protect the nation’s young from sexual exploitation, as top female gymnasts assailed the FBI and Olympic organizations for allowing the wanton predation of a serial criminal and the Boy Scouts offered yet another billion-dollar proposal to try to resolve tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims against the youth group.

The fierce, courageous, and emotional testimony by Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (screenshot, right, courtesy Canadian Broadcast Co. video) received extensive media coverage. It reflected their fury at how supposedly elite law enforcement agents heard but ignored their charges against Larry Nassar, the former national women gymnastics team doctor who was convicted of an array of sexual abuse charges and will serve a life sentence in prison.

FBI agents ignored agency practices and policy, learning from multiple women of sexual crimes by Nassar and failing to act, misrepresenting what they were told, and later lying to colleagues and superiors about what Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) described as their “dereliction of duty,” “systematic organizational failure” and “gross failures” in the case.

bugatti-300x118If big hospitals really want to keep surgeons happy and provide them with greater comfort during procedures, why not build giant, sanitary glass garages next to operating rooms and let docs park their Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Bugattis there for ogling and maybe even to take a break under the vehicles’ hoods?

Okay, maybe we’re being a bit too snarky.  Yet that hyperbolic scenario just might be cheaper and more medically justifiable than the sustained embrace by specialists and profit-seeking institutions of fancy robotic surgical devices costing more than $1 million annually — and for which patients, ultimately, pay. Here’s what the New York Times reported of yet another published meta-analysis of dozens of studies on the devices and their outcomes found:

“Surgical procedures performed with the aid of a robot is sometimes marketed as the ‘best’ form of surgery. But a recent review of 50 randomized controlled trials, testing robot-assisted surgeries against conventional methods for abdominal or pelvic procedures, suggests that while there may be some benefits to robotic surgery, any advantages over other approaches are modest … Some surgeons believe that these robots allow more precision during the operation, shorter recovery time, and generally better clinical outcomes for patients. But the review found that in many ways, compared outcomes from the robotic and conventional procedures showed little difference.

javaid-300x169A 70-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist likely will spend the rest of his life in jail. A federal judge sentenced Dr. Javaid Perwaiz to 59 years’ imprisonment for a decade-long spree of enriching himself by practicing costly, unneeded, and harmful medicine on women in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area.

As the Washington Post reported of the heinous acts that prosecutors proved at trial that Perwaiz committed:

“Several of [his] former patients testified that he performed procedures and surgeries they did not need — and that in some cases left them with permanent physical damage — so that he could collect their insurance money. Prosecutors said he gave his patients unnecessary, irreversible hysterectomies; improper sterilizations; and other procedures, including regular dilation and curettages that he called ‘annual cleanouts’ …  The doctor would perform diagnostic procedures with broken equipment, prosecutors said, and scare patients into surgery by telling them they had cancer when they did not.”

dopelady-300x200Although most states, including most recently Virginia, have eased restrictions on the recreational or medical use of marijuana, expectant moms should take note of serious studies that show pot, especially in heavy consumption, isn’t great for the health of unborn babies.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego examined a decade of medical records of 5 million or so women in the Golden State, carefully comparing those who used marijuana heavily versus those who did not. Their results, published in a scientific journal, offered a warning, as NBC News reported:

“Babies born to women who were heavy cannabis users during pregnancy are more likely to have health problems, including premature birth and death within a year of birth, compared to babies born to women who did not use cannabis during pregnancy.”

usccampus-300x165The University of Southern California apparently has set a record — one which parents should pray no college has reason to challenge and for which the educators and leaders at the Los Angeles campus should be sorry and ashamed.

The Trojans have announced they will pay $1.1 billion to settle lawsuits over the tawdry actions of Dr. George Tyndall, who was the lone gynecologist for young women treated in the student health service.

The school has admitted that he saw 17,000 patients in his three decades at the school and sexually abused many of them. As the Los Angeles Times reported:

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