The news recently reported that high school teenagers across the country are being shown a hysterectomy performed by a gynecologist-controlled robot. The surgery is streamed from a computer into the classroom. The gynecologist sits across the room from a woman who is strapped to an operating table, remotely controlling the robot performing a hysterectomy with the new expensive Da Vinci robot characterized as “a video game”. With the Da Vinci robotic hysterectomy video game, doctors don’t even touch women while they hysterectomize them.The doctor, hospital and school say they want to “educate everyone and draw more people into medicine,” but it is important to note that the students are not informed about female anatomy and the consequences when the uterus is removed. Instead of explaining the damaging effects of hysterectomy, students learn that it is more like a video game than major surgery, and they look forward to it as entertainment.
In high school auditoriums in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, gynecologist Marcia Bowling, shows the students how to amputate a uterus from a woman for hard to manage bleeding and abdominal pain that they think is caused by fibroids. Bowling, is sitting at a video game terminal using her fingers and a foot control. Even though the stated goal is supposedly to educate, Bowling makes no attempt to perform a myomectomy (surgical removal of fibroids leaving the uterus intact) nor does she inform the students that by amputating this woman’s uterus, it increases her risk for heart disease, lung cancer, and an Alzheimer’s like dementia. The surgery is compared to entertainment, “Students watched it live from Christ's auditorium, as engaged by the images as they would be watching a first-run movie.”
In the second article, gynecologist James Martin sits at a machine across the room from the operating table, remotely controlling the arms of the robot with a joy stick, while he amputates the uterus. No information is given in the article about why the woman’s uterus is being amputated, or the associated health risks and the damaging effects of of the surgery.
The Da Vinci robot system costs approximately $1.5 million. If the hospital makes approximately $5,000 for each hysterectomy, they will have to hysterectomize 3000 women to recoup the initial investment. By streaming hysterectomy surgery into the classroom, large populations of students, teachers and staff are being subliminally programmed that hysterectomy has no negative effects. This is unabashed promotion of hysterectomy to unknowing children who lack the maturity and experience to understand the life altering nature of the surgery they are witnessing.
Teaching children sex education in school has been always been a controversial issue, so you might wonder why there is no controversy when a gynecologist is invited into a high school classroom to show teenagers a woman’s sex organs being removed and her vagina shortened, while making it sound like a fun video game. Would parents feel differently if they realized that 1 out of 3 of their daughters will be hysterectomized before they turn 60 years old?
As for what the students really learned, the following quotes show the impact this omission of critical information has on teenagers:
! “Keifer Eubank, a Ryle High senior from Union, said he recently dissected a sheep brain, but this was much better.”
! Antonett Fowler, a junior at Woodward High School said, "I was more fascinated than I was disgusted," she said. "(Bowling) wasn't even sitting by the patient. I kept thinking, 'How is she doing that?"
! Kelcy Tobey said, "It's the real stuff; it's no soap opera...I could see myself being a part of that."
! “Burke High School senior Shanevia Minus…was one of the students in a health science technology class eager to watch a doctor perform a hysterectomy. Her class was one of 15 in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester county high schools that streamed the surgery from a computer onto a screen in their classrooms.”
This is not only a disservice to education, but it teaches kids that removing female sex organs is inconsequential and fun, like playing a video game.
If a hysterectomy is ever recommended to Shanevia, or any of the students who watched the surgery and they were informed of only the mechanics of taking out the female organs and why, her frame of reference will be a cool robotic surgery that she saw in a high school class. Would she be as eager to have her female organs removed as she was to watch a robotic hysterectomy if she had been taught that during a hysterectomy a hormone responsive reproductive sex organ is removed, the vagina is shortened and sutured shut at the top, the support to the bladder, bowel and pelvic floor is compromised, and hysterectomized women have a 3X greater incidence of heart disease? If the intent was to educate students, the key words would be “increased incidence of heart disease, hormone-responsive, sex organ, loss of uterine orgasm, shortened vagina, damaged pelvic floor”, and not “robot, eager, just go for it, Da Vinci, soap opera, and real stuff”.
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