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Tag: women

Breast cancer survivor urges women to get regular screenings and mammograms, thanks local non-profit ‘The Rose’

The first time Ediana Quijada found a lump in her breast, she was laughed off and told “it was happening because of her period and nothing to worry about.”

It was far from nothing. After a six-year battle with metastatic breast cancer, the cheerful Houston native is happy to share her story with other young women, advising regular breast exams, early detection having made a key difference in many cases.

In the fall of 2012, 29-year-old Ediana was finishing her construction management internship at the University of Houston.

The internship did not offer health insurance but UH hosts free mammography screenings in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. However, when she told the nurses about her lump, they assured her, with a cursory glance, that she was too young to worry about cancer. She was sent away without a mammogram.

Reassured and a little abashed about being paranoid, she busied herself with assignments as the stresses of the semester took over. The second of four siblings (two sisters, one little brother), Ediana said she had no reason to suspect the worst because there was no history of cancer in her family.

But the lump wouldn’t stay quiet.


“I started feeling that the little lump was getting bigger and bigger,” Ediana said. “I could measure it; it was an inch now. Or is it in my head? Then I would calculate, my period must be coming, that’s why the lump’s getting big … and my breast is turning pink.”

A visit with her mother’s doctor in December confirmed the devastating news — a large mass in her breast. Could be a tumor. Clearly, the cancer had made good use of the two-month delay.

“I didn’t have insurance, so my mother took me to a walk-in clinic,” Eidana said. “The doctor said, ‘oh my God, why didn’t you come before?’”

A few hours and one $100-ultrasound later, she was advised to do a biopsy.

“The biopsy cost over $2,000, I thought ‘I can’t do that right now,’ and he (the doctor) referred me to The Rose,” Ediana said.

That first encounter with The Rose marked the beginning of Ediana’s long, painful but ultimately successful battle with breast cancer. A Houston-based nonprofit group, The Rose provides breast cancer screenings and treatment regardless of patients’ ability to pay. They began Ediana’s treatment by conducting another ultrasound, this one costing only $10.

A little monster inside your breast.

Ediana was paired with a patient navigator who helped her through the system and set up her appointments.

“It turns out I was Stage 3, Type C, which is borderline Stage 4,” said Ediana. “Very aggressive and very bad. They said, ‘it looks like you have a little monster inside’.”

Given the tumor’s massive size, treatment had to begin immediately. When three painful rounds of chemo (each lasting around eight months), one round of radiation and one surgery failed to eliminate the cancer, her doctors put Ediana on an–at the time–experimental drug called T-DM1.

“This

Mexico identifies two women who may have received non-consensual surgeries in ICE detention

The finding is part of a larger Mexican investigation into allegations of improper medical care for detained migrant women at ICE’s privately-run Irwin Country Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.

In a statement released during the weekend, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said one Mexican national received “a surgical intervention” that she did not authorize. The ministry specified that the operation was not a hysterectomy, and said she did not receive post-operative care. The woman also did not receive treatment for a hernia, the statement adds.

A second woman in Mexico allegedly underwent a gynecological surgery “without her full consent,” according to the Ministry, which did not specify the type of surgery. The statement says she did not “receive an explanation in Spanish of the medical diagnosis or the nature of the medical procedures that would be performed.” The government says it is “verifying” this case.

Reached for comment on Tuesday, ICE released a statement attributed to Acting Director Tony Pham that the allegations “raise very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated,” and are being reviewed by both the Office of Inspector General where the original whistleblower complaint was filed, and the Department of Homeland Security.

“If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees,” Pham said in the statement.

In September, Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse formerly employed at Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center filed a complaint raising concerns about an undetermined number of hysterectomies supposedly performed there, as well as alleged medical neglect.

At least 20 women have since been interviewed by Mexican officials as part of the ongoing investigation. According to an earlier statement by the Foreign Ministry, five women said they had “interactions” with a doctor who has been linked to allegedly improper surgeries.

Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, has said in a statement that since 2018, only two individuals at the Irwin County Detention Center have been referred to certified, credentialed medical professionals at gynecological and obstetrical health care facilities for hysterectomies.

“Based on their evaluations, these specialists recommended hysterectomies. These recommendations were reviewed by the facility clinical authority and approved,” Rivera said, citing agency data.

Through a spokesperson, LaSalle Corrections, the company that operates Irwin facility, said in a statement that “all females in our care receive routine, age-appropriate gynecological and obstetrical health care, consistent with recognized community guidelines for women’s health services.”

LaSalle also mentioned the two cases cited by ICE’s Rivera as the only two referred to certified, credentialed medical professionals at gynecological and obstetrical health care facilities for hysterectomies in compliance with National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) standards.

According to the Ministry, Mexico’s consulate in Atlanta, Georgia is in contact with a lawyer for a possible class action lawsuit and “with the women who could be included in it, in order to explore legal channels that address the violation of their rights.”

As Dr. Javaid Perwaiz faces trial, the women he treated question decades of care

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The last time Brittni DuPuy-German saw her trusted gynecologist, she once again explained that the stabbing, mystery pain in her abdomen had not gone away.

It first appeared two years earlier, after she said her doctor, Javaid Perwaiz, surgically tied her tubes. To fix it, he had proposed more surgery — three additional procedures in nine months that she said included a hysterectomy when she was 29. But the pain persisted.

So on Nov. 8, 2019, at his private-practice office, Perwaiz and DuPuy-German discussed the possibility of yet another surgery, she said. He scheduled an ultrasound for just days later, a sign of the efficiency that DuPuy-German had come to expect from her family’s longtime gynecologist. He was her mother’s doctor, her sister-in-law’s doctor, her best friend’s doctor. Perwaiz had delivered DuPuy-German and delivered her children.

Which is why, when her phone buzzed the day after her appointment, she was shocked by the headline she was reading: “Chesapeake doctor tied women’s tubes, performed hysterectomies without their consent, feds say.”

She absorbed the details of the FBI investigation. Her doctor, the news report said, was accused of lying to patients and persuading them to have life-altering surgeries they didn’t need. DuPuy-German began doubting everything Perwaiz had told her about her own body.

“That’s when all of the things that I didn’t question before started popping up,” she said.

As Perwaiz faces trial this week, a year after his arrest, DuPuy-German has received few answers to those questions — even as the FBI’s investigation expanded and the list of alleged victims grew. There are 29 patients specified in court documents and hundreds of others who contacted authorities after the doctor’s arrest.

DuPuy-German, now 32, is not cited in the criminal case but has filed a lawsuit against Perwaiz.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia would not say how many women in total were allegedly mistreated by Perwaiz, but in a recent trial memorandum prosecutors wrote that “the identified patients are only ‘examples’ of the scheme to defraud.”

The case, which authorities said was launched in 2018 after a hospital employee’s tip, first hinged on one charge each of health-care fraud and false statements. Federal prosecutors now allege that Perwaiz executed an “extensive scheme” spanning nearly a decade that endangered women’s pregnancies, robbed their ability to conceive and pressured them into unnecessary procedures based on unfounded cancer diagnoses and exams using broken equipment.

The more procedures Perwaiz performed, authorities said, the more money he made off insurance companies. He used the profits, according to prosecutors’ trial memorandum, “to support his lavish lifestyle.”

Perwaiz, who is jailed without bond, pleaded not guilty. He has not spoken publicly about the allegations but defense attorneys said in a court document he is “prepared to defend himself at trial.” His lawyers in the criminal case have not responded to multiple requests for comment, but have argued unsuccessfully in numerous motions to dismiss that, among other things, some charges were duplicative.