ICBioethics Blog 

Are Pittsburgh Hospitals Intentionally Putting Women At Risk for Cancer?

Written by: Leah Jeunnette, Ph.D.(c)

Per recent Pittsburgh Business Times article, both UPMC and Allegheny Health Network (AHN) still perform power morcellations. Harvard doctor Hooman Noorchashm says they’re “no longer a standard of care in the United States,” calling their use “professional negligence.” This surgical technique used in hysterectomy can expose women to risk of cancers. Read original article here.

How did AHN and UPMC respond?

An AHN spokesman says they’re planning a “comprehensive review of the procedure,” –- typical, safe response to criticism.  UPMC, however, shifting responsibility, claims doctors provide patients adequate information concerning surgical procedures for consent.

Soooo . . . it’s the patient’s responsibility to realistically understand, assess, and evaluate risks?!

Shame on them for blaming patients – for what – trusting respected physicians’ expertise and judgment?!  Not helpful! How about re-evaluating questionable procedures instead, maybe informed consent validity, too. (BTW, what tools arepatients given to realistically assess their risks?)

Dr. Noorchashm calls UPMC’s informed consent practice “ethically flawed.”  No surprise to me that they think holding up patient consent signatures to let themselves off the hook is ethical.

Compare UPMC’s ethics function to top-rated hospitals like Johns Hopkins or Cleveland Clinic and see who’s out of touch with effective bioethics practices . . . . What kind of an indicator is it when hospitals distance themselves from responsibility for patients’ health, safety, and well being?

Pittsburgh deserves top-notch health care and ethical providers who self-monitor, accept responsibility, and self-correct!