Double Dose: Minimally Invasive Hysterectomies, Lab Mix-Up Leads to Double Mastectomy, Worst Headline of the Week and a RX to Relax

October 7, 2007

Women’s Health Leader: “Lorraine Rothman, a founder of the feminist self-help clinic movement who demystified basic gynecology for thousands of women at centers in Los Angeles and Orange counties, died of cancer Sept. 25 at her home in Fullerton. She was 75,” reports the L.A. Times.

Elaine Woo continues:

In 1971, Rothman, a teacher and mother of four, founded with Carol Downer the Los Angeles Feminist Women’s Health Center, which taught women how to perform their own cervical self-examinations and pregnancy tests.

They also popularized a procedure called menstrual extraction, which could be used as a method of early abortion.

The two women’s pioneering efforts helped unleash a cultural revolution that, according to writer and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich, “legitimized the notion that we have the right to know and to decide about procedures — from sterilization to hormone treatments — that affect our bodies and our lives.”

Not Her Mother’s Hysterectomy: The Washington Post looks at minimally invasive hysterectomies, via this personal story, an interactive graphic and an online discussion with the director of gynecologic endoscopy at Washington Hospital Center. Plus: The rate of hysterectomies in the United States is among the highest in the industrialized world, and its widespread use concerns critics.

Promising a Return to Reality: “In a stinging critique of Bush administration science policy, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York said yesterday that if she were elected president she would require agency directors to show they were protecting science research from ‘political pressure’ and that she would lift federal limits on stem cell research,” reports The New York Times.

Lab Mix-Up Leads to Unnecessary Double Mastectomy: From Newsday: “Four months and a double mastectomy later, doctors told Eason that her tissue sample had been mislabeled, and that she never had cancer,” writes Reid J. Epstein. “In 2005, Lynne Yurosko of Garden City underwent a lumpectomy and 25 radiation treatments before being told she never had cancer. Last year, Yurosko, now 57, sued the Quest Diagnostics lab, the Nassau Radiologic Group and four doctors. Her case is set to go to trial in 2008, said her attorney, Bob Sullivan of Garden City.”

Favorite Reads: The Guardian invited readers to write in with their stories about the books that introduced them to the women’s movement.

Moving Forward or Backward: Over at RH Reality Check, Jill Sheffield writes about the state of maternal health in the lead-up to the Women Deliver global conference in London, scheduled for Oct. 18-20. RH Reality Check will be covering the conference, which should receive a lot of international attention. Sheffield writes:

The World Bank will join the chorus at its annual meeting in Washington with a special Oct. 18 session on Women Deliver issues. The Lancet will devote its Oct. 13 edition to Women Deliver, and WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF will make public new maternal mortality statistics and country rankings for 2005, the latest in their series of five-year updates.

Another Protest Opportunity: “What is a wonder is that a company as successful as Wal-Mart wouldn’t see how the stalking T-shirt tends to undermine its public education campaign against domestic violence,” writes Raleigh News & Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan, referring to t-shirts sold at Wal-Mart that read, “Some Call It Stalking. I Call It ‘Love.'”

Worst Headline of the Week: “Bitter pill forced on Catholic hospitals by Supreme Court”, via the N.Y. Daily News, referring to the Supreme Court letting stand a New York law that requires Catholic hospitals to provide birth control coverage as part of the health plan package.

Relax, It’s Good for You: But you knew that already.