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Stanley West , MD
April 5 , 2003

Dr. Stanley West, author of "The Hysterectomy Hoax" and champion of the myomectomy and a woman's right to retain her uterus, has recently had his license suspended for 90 days in the state of New York. Documents regarding this suspension and additional probationary terms are available on the NYDOH website but also linked below:

Stanley West, MD/NYDOH 9/26/2002
(47 page Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

Stanley West, MD/NYDOH 2/6/2003
(13 page Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

Given the incredible number of women who have been helped by Dr. West during his lengthy career as a gynecologist/reproductive endocrinologist in New York who have shared their success stories online at the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation support group, and also simply because I know Dr. West does indeed handle some of the most difficult gynecological surgical cases involving uterine fibroids in the U.S. and has probably performed more myomectomies than any surgeon in the world to date, I felt it critical that we contact Dr. West and allow him the opportunity to share his thoughts regarding the proceedings directed against his practice of medicine.

All told, I collected over 60 questions from many concerned members of the uterinefibroids support group and submitted those questions to Dr. West. His summary response follows (below). Any outstanding questions left unanswered were addressed on Saturday, April 5, 2003 at 1 p.m. EST in the uterinefibroids chat room.

The chat session was recorded and transcribed and is available for reading at the following link:

Stanley West, MD

--------------------------------------------------------------------- From Dr. West:

As everyone knows, there are always at least two sides to every story. I have recently had my license suspended for three months, and placed on probation for three years.

My troubles began approximately 8-10 years ago, when several insurance companies began to question whether it was medically correct to do a myomectomy rather than a hysterectomy unless pregnancy was a factor. I was adamant in insisting that this should be a woman's choice, and that myomectomy in experienced hands was a very safe surgical procedure. This became a running battle with several insurance companies balking at paying for a myomectomy.

About 3-4 years ago, the Department of Health asked me to come in to meet with them and discuss some nine cases. They assured me that I was not being charged with anything, but they simply wanted to discuss these cases with me. That meeting turned into what appeared to me to be a questioning of why I did myomectomies instead of hysterectomies in women not wishing a pregnancy. Following that meeting, I heard nothing from the Health Department, but I did hear from a number of my patients who told me that they had been contacted by the Health Department trying to get them to say something bad about me or their surgery. Several patients wrote indignant letters to the Department of Health supporting me and the surgery they had. I discussed with my chairman and several colleagues my experience at the Health Department, receiving the comment that it was indeed an evil place.

Eight or nine months later the Health Department requested I come in to discuss a number of different cases. This time it involved different questions however, such as why there was no pap smear on a chart. I explained that a pap smear was done by her previous gynecologist, was negative, and I did not feel it was justified to redo it. Another chart did not have an endometrial biopsy. I answered that it was not indicated, is painful and expensive. There were several seemingly innocuous questions which I answered to the best of my ability.

Every two years, each physician must reapply for privileges to his hospital. On that application, among other things, there is a question, "Have you been convicted of a felony, had your license revoked, are being investigated, etc." I checked all the "no" boxes since it had been a number of months since my initial interview. I had heard nothing from the Health Department, and I felt that was the end of it. I was asked about that application, and I explained that the way the question was asked on the application appeared to me to warrant a "no."

Since a year had now passed with no word from the Health Department, I again assumed that everything was dropped.

I received a notice that I was being charged on several accounts with mismanagement, fraud and poor record keeping. I was shocked to say the least.

My attorney called to say that he received an offer from the Health Department the next day. The Health Department offered [to drop all charges, wipe the slate clean, and not threaten to take my license if I would agree to cease operating.] If I was such a threat to the general population that I should have my license revoked, how could they offer to drop all charges if I only would consent to cease operating? This convinced me that it was the insurance industry behind this. Unfortunately, the Health Department refused to reveal who was behind the complaint.

A panel was convened, a hearing took place sporadically. During the hearing, the offer to dismiss all charges was reiterated. Since in everyone's opinion I was winning hands down, I continued with the hearing.

Some months after the hearing ended, I received what my attorney described as a slap on the wrist. This entailed a promise to improve my record keeping, have someone review my records quarterly and I would be on probation for one year. While I didn't think I deserved that much, I accepted it, and went on with my life.

Several months later I was informed that the Health Department would appeal the decision and ask that my license be revoked (? Insurance lobby?).

The appeal was made to a panel appointed by the Health Department. I was not allowed to appear. Of the 5 panel members, 2 refused to participate in taking my license (2 out of the 3 doctors). There is no appeal. I am convinced that if this panel exonerated me, they would have simply set up an additional panel.

At the same time as I received this news, I was involved in an automobile accident totaling my car. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and so I have decided to take time out for myself to "smell the roses," doing the many things that I have not had the time for.

While I am on "sabbatical," Dr. Lynn Parodneck is in the office seeing patients. I fully intend to resume surgery at the end of May when my suspension is up.

I have no doubt that the Health Department will continue to harass me, indeed I have heard from them several times in the past 6 weeks.

I appreciate the hundreds of letters and phone calls that I continue to receive, and look forward to resuming practice.

The surgical complication occurrence rate depends upon 2 factors: The skill and experience of the surgeon and the condition of the patient. My complication rate of 4% falls far below the 30% average even though I do many patients that no other doctor will touch.

This whole hearing had to do with stopping me from operating. Although the Department of Health opened the hearing by stating that myomectomy was not the issue, they then proceeded throughout the procedure to condemn it

Through the gracious efforts of Carla Dionne and several others, I am attempting to throw some light on what really happened.

I hate paper work! I, like many docs, am guilty of not documenting every conversation, every request for records (such as a pap smear). I have reformed. I now document everything.

To my knowledge none of my patients ever filed a complaint against me with the Department of Health. Two of those patients appeared at the request of the Health Department to testify.

With regard to Patient A, much of the ability of a doctor to manage his patient depends upon the patient. If she reports severe pain, bleeding or inability to urinate, it is incumbent upon the doctor to act immediately to resolve the problem. However, with Patient A, there were only vague complaints. When asked to come in she replied that her vague complaints were not serious enough to warrant a trip to the office.

It should be noted that my practice consists of a large number of patients that other doctors have declared impossible to do, indeed for many of them a hysterectomy was deemed impossible. These patients will often present with multiple adhesions (frozen pelvis), huge fibroids, difficult locations of the fibroids and anemia. The increased risk of complications are always discussed in detail with the patient before undertaking surgery, giving them the opportunity to go elsewhere. Even so, my complication rate is far lower than most gynecologists.

Stanley West, MD

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