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Article
July 20, 1994

The Hysterectomy Hoax

Author Affiliations

Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago, Ill

 

by Stanley West with Paula Dranov, 214 pp, with illus, $22, ISBN 0-385-46819-9, New York, NY, Doubleday, 1994.

JAMA. 1994;272(3):244-245. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520030088041
Abstract

In The Hysterectomy Hoax Dr Stanley West makes the sensational accusation that hysterectomy is a big business and that no more than 10% of hysterectomies are necessary and then only for cancer. Dr West, "a noted infertility specialist and Chief of Reproductive Endocrinology at St Vincent's Hospital," although not board certified in reproductive endocrinology, throughout the book claims expertise in conservative surgery. I was curious as to whether Dr West had published any results of his own approaches to treatment, but a computer search over the last 30 years credits him with only two publications in peer-reviewed journals, neither of which is germane to the book.

The book contains outrageous and inaccurate statements, for instance, "up to one half of all patients [who have had hysterectomies] develop complications, some of which can be quite serious." Almost any study on hysterectomies shows a complication rate of 5% to 20%, and most

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