"It should be my decision "

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I had an appointment to see a Dr in may 2013, an 11 cm benign uterine fibroid had been diagnosed and I was referred to him for treatment options. I am 46 years old and had been experiencing regular pain prior to and after my menstrual cycle.

I was told option one: was to do nothing. option two: was to have a full hysterectomy removing my ovaries and cervix by mid-line incision (accompanied with a hand motion ) because it was large.

When I questioned if that was necessary as I would prefer to keep my cervix, I was told it was easier to remove it and I would no longer need to worry about cervical cancer. when I questioned the need to remove my ovaries I was told it was easier and that I would not be at risk of future ovarian cancer which the Dr discussed at length and was eager to point out there is no screening process for ovarian cancer.

I asked if having a uterine fibroid increased my risk of cervical or ovarian cancer? I was told no, but why take the risk when I can remove it while I'm in there anyway. When I said I would prefer to keep my ovaries I was told why would you want to keep your ovaries, they will just shrivel up but what about my hormones, the menopause? and another response like.. why would you want to make your own hormones when I can give you a tablet?

When I asked about other treatment options I was told that procedures which preserved the uterus but removed the fibroid were difficult, would bleed a lot and that he could not justify an expensive procedure as I was not using my womb.

I feel strongly that the Dr has a deep disregard for the natural functioning of a woman's body and that his lengthy discussion about cancer felt manipulative. I am convinced that if I was not the strong person I am, I could have been worried into having a full hysterectomy, that would have been easy for the Dr but would have profoundly impacted on my future health.

I was dismayed that this attitude to women and their bodies is still being practised in this day and age.

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Response from Stuart Wilson, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, NHS Lothian

Dear Ishbell,

I am sorry that you have been upset by the way you were spoken to and advised by one of our doctors.

I am unable to look into this in detail without your consent so if you are able to e-mail me more details then I can look into this for you and come back with a detailed response.

I can be contacted on stuart.wilson3@nhs.net

Best regards,

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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