Health care journalism Medical devices Pharmacy Robotic surgery systems The Bleeding Edge documentary

Local news hype of robotic surgery doesn’t match many hysterectomy patients’ experiences

Local news hype of robotic surgery doesn't match many hysterectomy patients' experiences

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Many journalists appear enthralled with robotic surgery techniques.  For native journalists — particularly native TV journalists — the video of the robotic arms and the surgeon utilizing the hand controls from a distance away from the affected person appears all too thrilling.

In Secaucus, New Jersey, it’s news when a hospital merely acquires a surgical robotic. The announcement guarantees that the robotic system outcomes “in very small incisions and very little blood loss, enabling patients to go home the same day or the next day.” No knowledge offered to again that up.

In Roanoke, Virginia, it’s newsworthy merely to announce that a native hospital is celebrating the one-year anniversary of having a robotic surgery system. The TV station doesn’t query the surgeon’s declare that fewer painkillers are wanted after robotic surgery.  No knowledge offered to again that up.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, a math instructor who had robotic surgery makes the news.  She stated within the story, “If you need me to tell anyone what a good experience this was, I will.” The story emphasised pinpoint accuracy and fast restoration. No knowledge offered to again that up.

And in Albuquerque, New Mexico. the titillating angle was that males at the moment are getting robotic surgery inside an area ladies’s hospital. The TV station admitted that a hospital advertising banner is what caught their eye to do the story. The advertising continued within the so-called “news story.” The surgeon is quoted as saying, “I can actually make one small incision in the belly button, make it cosmetically look very nice. They go home the same day and the benefits are tremendous.”  No knowledge offered to again that up.

Notice that with a view to watch this news clip from KOB-TV in Albuquerque, you should first watch a quick business from native damage legal professionals.  Hmmm.  Hold studying under to see the irony in that juxtaposition.

Lastly, a Lima, Ohio TV station thought it was newsworthy when an area surgeon carried out his 1,000th robotic operation.  (Would they think about it newsworthy when a pediatrician noticed her 1,000th affected person?)  They apparently didn’t contemplate it newsworthy that the surgeon, in response to the Dollars for Docs ProPublica venture, accepted almost $20,000 from the maker of the robotic surgery system in 2016.  Within the story, the surgeon helped the native hospital’s advertising effort by saying that this demonstrates that even in Lima they are often on the leading edge of new applied sciences and it doesn’t happen solely in main cities.

All of these tales have been reported just lately over about two weeks’ time.  Everywhere in the United States, these sorts of fawning, drooling tales about robotic surgery seem on a regular basis. And the robotic units proceed to be bought by increasingly more hospitals, offering much more advertising magic for patient-needy medical facilities.

Fairly a special story about robotic surgery – particularly robotic hysterectomy – is being informed in a brand new documentary that debuts July 27 on Netflix.  It’s referred to as “The Bleeding Edge.” (The movie additionally seems to be at issues from the Essure contraceptive gadget, with metal-on-metal hip joints, and with vaginal mesh.) Right here’s a video clip from the documentary:

Amy Herdy is a journalist who was a producer for this documentary.  “When researching the da Vinci robot,” she advised me, “we heard about a case of vaginal cuff dehiscence, which is small bowel evisceration after hysterectomy, and is life-threatening. Research shows it can occur more frequently with robotic hysterectomies. When I heard about that first case and the frightening details, which included the woman’s intestines literally falling out of her vagina, I thought it was one of the most awful things I ever heard, and I’ve been a journalist for more than 20 years. And then, to our horror, we learned of another case….and then another…and then yet another…until we realized we had to do the entire segment on those horrific stories. The public deserves to know about these cases so they can make informed decisions that factor in the very real potential risks, not just the slick marketing that is presented by the manufacturer.”

Radio advert & billboard lured Lori Shanyfelt

“Quicker recovery…smaller incisions…less blood loss…less pain.”

Lori Shanyfelt

These have been the guarantees that Lori Shanyfelt remembers from the radio advert she heard and the billboard she noticed close to her Indiana house – advertisements that modified her life.  She says she by no means would have pursued robotic surgery for her hysterectomy if she hadn’t seen and heard the advertisements from an area hospital.  She was advised that she wanted a hysterectomy however she stored placing it off as a result of she didn’t need to undergo what she noticed her mom undergo with a hysterectomy 30 years in the past.  And the robotic surgery appeared to be the reply.

However, she informed me, “What I thought would be my answer turned out to be my worst nightmare.”

She had the robotic process, however then skilled growing bleeding, adopted by an infection, adopted by vaginal cuff dehiscence and, in all, had 4 surgical procedures in 13 months.  For sure, the advert claims have been all negated:  Faster restoration – no; smaller incisions – not after 4 operations; much less blood loss – no; much less ache – hardly.  In the long run, she thinks she ended up worse off than her mom did 30 years in the past.

Within the midst of all of this occurring, she started to query her physician concerning the issues she’d been studying questioning the security of robotic surgery.  He stated that was “just a bunch of ambulance-chasing attorneys trying to scare people. ”

Jen Nelson, hysterectomy, Mayo Clinic, 2017

Jen Nelson earlier than and after robotic surgery

Jen Nelson stated she wasn’t informed something about problems from robotic surgery when it was beneficial to her – as the one choice mentioned – for her complete hysterectomy as a result of of one very giant fibroid tumor and a number of other smaller ones in her uterus. She says that when she went house from her pre-op go to, she searched on-line and located many hyperlinks to the HysterSisters.com web site.  She stated that each one of the feedback about robotic hysterectomy on the location have been constructive.  “Everything I read on the site was ‘real’ patients raving about the robot.  I thought it must be great.”

It wasn’t nice for her.  She wrote to me: “I had three reparative surgeries, a colostomy, treatment for severe sepsis, a drain inserted for the abscesses, and a lot of physical therapy. I have pain always, deal with fecal impact since my colostomy reversal, can only sleep on my back, and live daily with a stomach that resembles what the Bride of Frankenstein’s might look like.”

She went again to the HysterSisters.com web site to inform others about her expertise. However her posted remark was eliminated by the web site. She later found that Inuitive Surgical, producer of the daVinci robotic surgery system, is an promoting sponsor of HysterSisters.com. She says the location misplaced all credibility together with her at that time.

Journalists – and their news organizations, like those featured on the prime of this publish – lose credibility once they current unquestioning, gee-whiz tales about their native hospital’s acquisition of robotic surgery methods or any new medical units.  Our 10 news story evaluate standards present steerage for the sorts of questions that ought to be requested.

Journalists, sufferers, well being care shoppers and news shoppers have to critically analyze claims of “very small incisions, very little blood loss, quick recovery, pinpoint accuracy, less pain medication required.” Jen Nelson and Lori Shanyfelt are among the many ladies who didn’t have these experiences.

Sufferers can ask concerning the charges of problems within the arms of the surgeons utilizing the robotic controls.  And when a surgeon recommends robotic surgery for a specific situation, sufferers can ask how many of these very same procedures the surgeon has carried out, they usually can then perform a little homework on-line about what the projected studying curve is for surgeons utilizing the robotic for that process. The producer typically exhibits docs training on a grape. Since your physique is just not a grape, the true surgical studying curve on individuals is value figuring out.  Let’s say it takes a surgeon greater than 100 procedures to proficient; do you need to be sufferers 1 via 99?  Some advised studying assets are listed under.

Different studying

Underreporting of robotic surgery problems – article in Journal for Healthcare High quality (You may also learn the Johns Hopkins Drugs news launch about this paper)

Sudden Consequence in Hysterectomy Research – MedPageToday.com.  Excerpt: “Women undergoing radical hysterectomy for early cervical cancer had a significantly higher risk of disease recurrence and worse long-term survival with minimally invasive surgery, including robotic-assisted procedures, two separate studies showed.”

Salesmen within the surgical suite – The New York Occasions

Costly robots is probably not making surgeons — or sufferers — a lot better – The Washington Submit

Unplug the robotic – a weblog capturing many womens’ dangerous experiences with robotic surgery.

2015 opinion from the American School of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. Excerpt: “Reporting of adverse events is currently voluntary and unstandardized, and the true rate of complications is not known.”

2013 public warning from the American School of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  Excerpt: “Many women today are hearing about the claimed advantages of robotic surgery for hysterectomy, thanks to widespread marketing and advertising. Robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy. Nor is it the most cost-efficient.”

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