Informed Consent is Non-Negotiable

Australian Woman Says Her Surgeon Placed Expanders Without Her Consent
** Update: unfolding information suggests that this situation does not represent flat denial. It may represent a violation of consent, but we do not have all the facts. This patient consented to direct to implant reconstruction. Instead of placing an implant, the surgeon placed an expander. We will update when we have more conclusive information. **

We know that about one in twenty women who choose to go flat are intentionally denied a flat closure by a surgeon who believes they will “change their mind” about implants. But leaving a patient with excess skin to facilitate future reconstruction isn’t the only egregious violation of consent that mastectomy patients face. Today we are sharing the story – and the online petition for justice – of an Australian woman, “Jane” (not her real name), whose surgeon placed tissue expanders during her mastectomy without her consent.

“… no man or woman has the right to put anything inside your body without prior consent… I’ve got a voice and I’m using it.”

Jane

Late last year in Queensland Australia, at Royal Brisbane Hospital, mother and ballet dancer Jane had a double mastectomy and was shocked to wake up to tissue expanders under her skin that she had not consented to. Now the hospital won’t remove them in a timely fashion because “it’s not urgent.” Jane has been in incredible pain from the expanders for over two months now. And she isn’t the first woman to experience this specific violation of her consent. In the UK in 2018, Donna Finegan-White woke up to unwanted implants after her mastectomy – she sued the hospital (Great Western) and ended up settling out of court.

Read Jane’s story in her own words:

“The only way to describe the sensation (not the pain) is if you could imagine a large round hard Tupperware closed with jagged edges crushed inside my skin. I am a dancer and a teacher and I need to be able to move my body free of pain…  I’m a human being and I believe we all have the right to be able to move without pain where possible. At the moment I can’t do that… the pain, throbbing, stabbing, burning and since 3 weeks pectoral spasms constantly 24/7.

The worst part of this whole diabolical episode is, that I am wasting away, at my wits end physically, mentally and emotionally. Perhaps it’s the pain, the no sleep or the fact that no surgeon can fit me in to remove it. A medical specialist recently said to me…it’s not urgent. Not quite sure she would be saying that if it was her wearing a Tupperware. 

… I’ve got to have gone through this for a reason who knows but at least if I can plant a seed out there to spread the word then I’m doing it. I have a daughter and my message to everyone out there especially my girl, no man or woman has the right to put anything inside your body without prior consent. I’m sure that goes for animals too… oh no that’s right they can’t talk… so the surgeon from RWBH that called me a scared animal, you’re damn right I am. But I’ve got a voice and I’m using it.”

Published by Not Putting on a Shirt

Founder of Not Putting on a Shirt, a mastectomy patients' rights organization that advocates for optimal surgical outcomes for patients going flat.

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