As we tighten our belts at home and abroad, we are all accountable for the burden of national debt we pass along to future generations. Local and international relief efforts for the poor are also feeling the pinch, which makes the search for ways to heal our broken economy a humanitarian effort.
Although medical profits continue to soar, there have been rumblings lately that the next “industry” to show up in Washington hat-in-hand will be medicine (“Disappearing Credit Forces Hospitals to Delay Improvements,” Reed Abelson, New York Times, October 14, 2008). Meanwhile, evidence abounds that an increasing portion of our tax dollars that fund Medicare and Medicaid are the most lucrative revenue stream for the medical industry, and a large portion of those expenditures are going toward unnecessary, even harmful surgeries, not unquestionably-needed emergency care.
Any savings to be realized, without causing more people to become disadvantaged, must be embraced immediately. So-called port barrel federal expenses, and those that can be revealed to cause more damage than good, must be the first to go.
A staggering number of surgeries have been proven in study after study to be medically unwarranted and cause more harm than good. Rob Stein of The Washington Post reports, “One of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States – arthroscopy to treat arthritis in the knee – is useless, researchers reported yesterday.” So let’s take a look at the two most over-utilized, most commonly performed surgeries in America – cesarean sections and hysterectomies.
When a doctor and a hospital get involved in the natural process of childbirth, time is money. “Spontaneous deliveries,” as they are often referred to (where there is no surgical intervention), are time-consuming for doctors. In rare instances, such as when the placenta happens to block its own exit by attaching to the uterine wall close to or covering the cervix (placenta previa), C-section may be lifesaving for both baby and mother. Also, when the placenta does not detach from the uterine wall (placenta accreta), sometimes a hysterectomy is the only way of saving the mother’s life. But placenta previa can often be managed conservatively and occurs in only 1 in 200 pregnancies. Placenta accreta occurs in only 1 in 2,500 pregnancies. Combined, they account for only one half of one percent of C-sections, which means that as many as 99% of C-sections may be medically unwarranted.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that nearly 1/3 of all births in the U.S. are surgical, with up to a four-times higher risk of complications (“Caesarean Section Before 39th Week Poses Extra Risk, Study Finds,” January 7, 2009.) Judith Reichman of NBC News reports that more than 30% of the 4.3 million U.S. births each year are surgical deliveries. However, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, an ardent advocate of home birth and the founder of Homefirst Health Services in Chicago, reports that Homefirst’s C-section rate is only 4.1%.
Depending on the severity of C-section complications, each surgical delivery taxes Americans anywhere between $2,000 and $200,000, in addition to the cost of an in-hospital birth. As reported by Rita Rubin in the January 7, 2007 USA Today, “The average initial hospital cost of a planned C-section for a first-time mother was 76% higher than that for a planned vaginal birth.” A conservative estimate of C-section expenses burdening American families would top $3 billion each year for additional doctor and hospital charges alone.
As for hysterectomy, Ashley Montagu wrote in his book The Natural Superiority of Women about a House of Representatives subcommittee investigating the incidence of unnecessary hysterectomy. “Various sources,” he writes, “put the percentage of unnecessary hysterectomies anywhere between 24 and 88 percent.” Findings from more than 850,000 counseling sessions at the HERS Foundation in Philadelphia puts the percentage of hysterectomies that could be avoided with conservative treatment (or no treatment at all), at about 98%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than 1/3 of American women have their female organs removed by the age of 60. The CDC also reports that the incidence of cancer in the female organs and the male organs is virtually identical, while the incidence of male organ removal is statistically insignificant.
“‘We have four times the hysterectomy rate of any industrialized nation, in this country,'” said [Ernst] Bartsich, a clinical associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. At age 60, one out of every three women has had a hysterectomy; and at age 65, one out of two women have had a hysterectomy. And 85 percent are not necessary” (Newsday, May 2004, Roni Rabin).
In a September 5, 2007 article published in Health Insurance Underwriter’s magazine, Rick Schweikert reports that more than $17 billion each year is spent on direct doctor and hospital charges for hysterectomy. In 2007, the HERS Foundation released an educational female anatomy video on its website that was vetted by gynecologists and other medical and legal experts. Ninety-eight percent of the women who watch the video and call the HERS Foundation do not proceed with the doctor’s recommendations for hysterectomy after learning about the unavoidable and irreversible consequences of removal of the female organs – facts that women are not informed of by doctors. The long-term cost of treatment and subsequent surgeries, and a lifetime of harmful drugs and treatments for the problems caused by hysterectomy and ovary removal, could easily top the $17 billion paid for the initial surgery.
According to their 2008 SEC filings, the largest hospital chain in the U.S., the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) – founded by the family of former Senator and Majority Leader Bill Frist – reports that in 2008 about 49% of their revenues and 59% of their hospital admissions were Medicare and Medicaid “related.” In 2007, HCA reported revenues of $26.9 billion, approximately $16 billion of which (according to HCA) was paid for by American taxpayers.
What most people may not know is that HCA “plead guilty to 14 felonies” and was hit with a $1.7B fine – far-and-away the largest such fine in history – for Medicare fraud, as reported by Kurt Eichenwald in the December 18, 2002 New York Times. These fines, it seems, were a minor bump in the road for HCA, on their way to grabbing hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars in the years to come. Doctors and hospitals reap the financial benefit of surgeries, whether they are warranted or not. American taxpayers, both in terms of Medicare/Medicaid payouts and higher insurance premiums, pay the price.
No mother or father whose child has a medical emergency should be required to answer any questions or demonstrate any ability to pay for medical services when they arrive at an emergency room seeking care. But as our government strategizes how to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in its economic stimulus package, we owe it to future generations to unshackle ourselves from doctors and hospitals performing medically unwarranted surgeries.
In a December 2, 2007 article titled “National Debt Grows at a Million Dollars a Minute,” (published long before any talk of “bailout” packages), the Associated Press reports that, “retirement and health benefit programs now make up the largest component of federal spending. Defense is next. And moving up fast in third place is interest on the national debt.”
Each million dollars saved today could save future generations tens of millions of dollars in interest on the national debt. As President Obama said in his inaugural address, “Our health care is too costly.” In these trying times, Americans are not in a position to leave $17B a year of unnecessary medical expenses on the table. Especially when it will keep hundreds of thousands of American women off the operating table, with their female organs intact.
Published February 4, 2009 in The Women’s International Perspective.
It is almost incomprehensible to think that “doctors” are performing unnecessary surgeries on people for profit. I hope the government steps in and does something about this soon before more people are hurt.
And why were hysterectomies not listed in Consumer Reports’ July 2008 article “Too Much Treatment” and November 2007 article “Treatment Traps to Avoid”? C-sections were listed in the latter article.
Shame on you, Consumer Reports!
Audrey Fischer says
It is personal responsibility for each one of us to make conscientious choices for our healthcare, and not rely on assumed professional integrity of doctors to make important decisions for us.
It is *sickening* that professional ethics is sometimes replaced or influenced with greed.
It is also *sickening* that taxpayers are made to pay for this abuse and misuse when there are so many meaningful, positive venues for our dollars to make worthwhile contributions for today’s and future generations.
could someone please tell me what a uterine orgasm is exactly? if you orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris, then does that mean you’ll still be able to orgasm after a hysterectomy?
I have heard radio talk show host Herman Cain place the national debt at 44 trillion dollars when unfunded liabilities like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are factored in. It is way past time for us, as citizens, to demand that things be done differently. Our government cannot continue to run ever expanding deficits anymore than your personal household can.
All across this country, state, local, and city governments are at a loss due to decreased tax revenue. So, why is it that the Feds haven’t been noting their own revenue decrease? Keep in mind that they are vested partners in all of our depressed and depressing savings (ex:401Ks,IRAs)-
not to mention in our earnings.
Sure, they intend to borrow…but could their lone ability to simply print money also be at play here? And, if money is carelessly printed, then doesn’t it become worth less and less?
As a debtor Nation, our borrowing has already made us too beholding to countries like China. It can make it difficult for our Nation to be critical of anything originating there…from their civil rights to lead in our children’s toys. Impossible to modify any debt that they have the smallest fraction of–for, as a Nation, we cannot lose their line of credit.
I shudder when I think of this dreadful inheritance that we are, apparently, intent upon leaving to
our future generations.
Once upon a time, my husband was out of work for several years. Our household income was cut more than in half. I looked at our household budget and then made the cuts that I felt were necessary. Gone was air conditioning, cable TV, eating out, etc. Know what? We got by! And to this day we are stronger for having done so. It can be done and, as a Nation, it is overdue.
This HERS article is an excellent piece detailing two very important ways in which the US can decrease healthcare costs and actually see great health benefits as a result. What a great shame that Nora isn’t our Nation’s new health czar…’Cause we– and the generations to follow– would all be better off for it!
This is to the woman questioning about the uterine/clitoral orgasm. When I was intact, I could have an orgasm either thru clitoral or uterine/cervical/vaginal stimulation alone.
I would feel the deep tightening, then the release which brought much of my pelvis convulsing. My mind would actually lose conscienousness for a fleeting few moments. Stress, both physical and mental, would simply ebb away. Afterwards, I would have an absolutely delicious sense of contentment. This was no matter how the orgasm originated. I now believe that either trigger, triggers contractions- and response- in all of our components.
After my hysterectomy, I can get a faint tremor just in the clitoral region. This is getting weaker and weaker as time passes by. I continue to try this as I believe that it is important for me to increase the compromised circulation to my vagina as much as I can. I no longer do it for a sense of pleasure. Worse yet, the wonderful sensations nor the blessed feelings no longer ever reach my mind. My clitoral response now is like having a small muscle spasm or jump. While I have no doubt that gyns will try to sell you this pitiful response as an orgasm, don’t be fooled by ’em. Trust me, it is the difference between an earthquake and gently setting a sheet of paper on the ground.
Ovaries secrete oxytocin, the hormone of mating and maternal behaviours but also a hormone that causes muscles to contract. Its synthetic is pitocin which is dangerously given to women to induce labor. At orgasm, the ovaries secrete oxytocin causing contractions and the many kind, orgasm induced, feelings that women tend toward afterward.
The uterus has nerves connecting it to the brain via the spinal cord but also there is a “direct connect.” Quadriplegic women can orgasm with uterine cervical stimulation and their response is not coming up their damaged spinal cords. A surgically removed uterus has neither the spinal cord nor the direct connection…nor its’ nerves to the breasts. My breasts
have lost their sensitivity as well. The nerve complexs and blood circulation severed at hysterectomy are extensive and, while gyns don’t want to say so,
I believe it naive to think that the clitoris remains untouched.
Certainly, the ovarian and vaginal blood supply is diminished.
Something else…before the surgery, my husband was easily able to bring me to climax. LOL It took him less than ten minutes..
After the surgery…he can’t even get the tiny clitoral response. This really makes our going to bed together very different. To the point that he has said that we could end our sex life..but that would not be good for our marriage nor for me who now needs his affection more than ever..and his “donor” hormones.
One last point, before the surgery, when we were together, my husband would tell me that, “It has ahold of me!” He delighted in that tight hold. He doesn’t say that anymore. He tells me that now it is just very soft up there. Reading I found out that the uterine cervix and vagina tighten upon the penis, kind of a milking which produces a pool of sperm that the cervix moves towards. The hold turns out to be nature’s way of promoting pregnancy but it is, for your male partner, an important part of his sexual experience.sign me, no “O”
Two other things that I need to note. One, the uterine cervix provides the vagina and surrounding area with a lubricant that also contains nourishing hormones. Largely, the female scent comes from this. Don’t dismiss the female scent or pheromones too quickly. Turns out, the biochemicals that bring multiple neighborhood “suitors” to your door when your dog is in heat, well, there are similiar human biochemicals. To read more, I’d recommend starting with Winifred Cutler’s writings.
The second thing is that the uterine cervix plays a major role in a woman’s desire for penetration. Btw, the book,
“Human Sexual Response” is a good resource for much of what I’ve written. no “O”
Paper Girl Productions says
I am trying to steer away from a hysterectomy ‘treatment’ myself and am appalled at how many women have had it done because doctors say they need it.
Keep steering in the same direction, you’re going the right way!
Most women were hysterectomized not because a doctor merely said they needed it, but because they were told they probably had cancer, or they had fibroids that could turn into cancer, or an ovarian cyst that was probably cancer. Most women are frightened or bullied into the surgery by doctor’s scaring them with the C word.
Don’t change direction, continue to steer away from surgery. If you need help in sorting out whether you have a true medical problem or just a nuisance call HERS at 610.667.7757 to arrange a telephone appointment to speak with a counselor.
“I hope the government steps in and does something about this soon before more people are hurt.”
I hope so too! I was not hurt I was ruined and so was my life.
It is all about you scratch my back and I will scratch your back. After my surgery, I wrote to my insurance company that paid for my surgery and complained. They told me there was nothing they could do. We have to get after the senators who pass the laws and make them believe this is a barbaric act against women and their families.
Is a shame that a country that protects women rights allow this to happen to women.
It’s deeply sad that so many of our
mothers, aunts and grandmothers have had their arms twisted to have
first unnecessary C-sections and
then unnecessary hysterectomies.
Most tragic is that too many of our daughters think having an
epidural drilled into her back will
make labour easier, instead of
realizing she may have headaches
and spine problems for the rest of
Yes, most of these ob/gyns use scare tactics that usually include the ‘C’ word.
My ob/gyn, Richard C. Muckerman II, castrated me at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis for a benign cyst. He scheduled surgery for 5 days after discovering the cyst and said he really wanted me to see an oncologist but there wouldn’t be time. Of course, I’ve also read stories of oncologists that collude with ob/gyns so even if a woman sees an oncologist, she still may be damned! Very corrupt, sick individuals!
And what’s with Catholic hospitals “killing” women in this fashion? Kind of like how they “looked the other way” during the Holocaust? They won’t allow abortions but they’ll allow castrations which is another form of murder! I heard on the radio the other day that a law may be passed that will force them to perform abortions.
My hysterectomy wasn’t necessary. I went to a doctor at 47 because I was stressed, wasn’t sleeping well, and was having teary episodes. I needed time off from my busy job. I was asked if I still had periods and I said I did and that they were getting heavier. I was referred to a gyno who said that if I didn’t have a hysterectomy I would need blood transfusions and could bleed to death. Unfortunately I trusted the doctor and did not seek a second opinion. I was given no information at all about the alternatives to hysterectomy. In my case as I found out later, I could have just put up with my periods and safely waited until the natural onset of menopause. When I complained that I had been manipulated into agreeing to an unnecessary hysterectomy and castration, I was prescribed anti depressants and told to get counselling. Some women say they feel better after a hysterectomy because they don’t have periods anymore. I don’t. I feel as if I aged 10 years. I have met dozens of women who have had hysterectomies and but only one who had to have one because she had cancer. All of the hysterectomies were paid for by private medical insurance. Thank you HERS for continuing to bring the real evidence into the hysterectomy debate. DOCTORS ARE PERFORMING TOO MANY UNNECESSARY HYSTERECTOMIES! Regards, Charmaine Saunders
And, sadly, the medical boards that should be disciplining these doctors usually condone their actions. Although I’m sure that’s no surprise to anyone that’s been victimized as we know that doctors maintain a “code of silence.”
In my case, I’m sure it didn’t help that the hospital campus has signs bearing his name.
I was actually told by several medical professionals (including an ob/gyn) within a couple years of my surgery that I was duped which I already knew. However, I was relieved to know that there are SOME medical professionals that will speak the truth.
Has anyone had a positive outcome from a complaint to their state’s medical board or know of someone that has?
Mad as Hell says
Normally a state’s Attorney General will take action when there’s a business scam. Where are the states’ Attorney Generals in the huge scam of hysterectomy??
Where are the states’ Attorney Generals in the huge scam of hysterectomy??
Having cocktails with wealthy medical doctors at the country club or hobnobbing in their social circle?
With all due respect for your comprehensive effort to disseminate knowledge and help women make informed choices about hysterectomy, I’d like to point out that you refered to Ashley Montagu as “she” and to “her book”, “The Natural Superiority of Women”. Dr. Montagu was indeed a man. I have been a supporter of HERS for ten years; I sincerely appreciate your work, but when you reference someone, it lends better credibility to the cause to show that you know your sources.
HERS Foundation says
Thanks so much for working with HERS to help us achieve the absolute accuracy we strive for in all of our work. Bringing an error to our attention is greatly appreciated.
HERS Foundation says
The States Attorneys General become involved in matters of criminal wrong doing.
Legally, unwarranted and unconsented hysterectomy are civil matters.
HERS is working toward changing the law to compel doctors to provide the short educational video “Female Anatomy: the Functions of the Female Organs to every woman before she is told to sign a hysterectomy consent form. Women who watch the video invariably choose not to undergo hysterectomy.
You can help in this effort to stop this from being done to another generation of women and girls by actively getting everyone you know to sign HERS petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saynotilyouknow/
Approximately 250,000 women in the U.S. are sexually assaulted every year; while approximately 650,000 women lose their sex organs by amputation from gynecologists every year.
Thanks Hers, I understand. I do believe every branch of the government of America should be alerted to the epidemic sex organ amputation of the American woman by deceit though, every branch. This heinous epidemic legal assault must be stopped with no holds barred.
To the post above about 250,000 women assaulted in the U.S.
Yeah, women are safer on the streets than in the hospitals. At least when you get raped, you still have your sex organs.
I want to comment on some of the conditions leading up to the recommendation of hysterectomy and what I feel is the gyn profession's long standing and deliberate abandonment of their "First, do no harm" oath.
First up is the number one reason for hysterectomy: fibroids…but the oft called "Father of Gynecology", Dr. Kelley, notes in hundred year old texts removing eight fibroids in thirty minutes– before anthesia or antiseptic practice. He also notes removing huge ones as well–all the while merely returning the uterus to its' normal anatomy. So, why isn't that routinely done for us today?
Next up, the threat of cancer. Current commercials notwithstanding, the cervical/HPV cancer connection is about thirty years old. Did that ever cause the gyns to recommend HPV testing before the radical treatment of hysterectomy? No, nor to even warn about HPV–that is, before they, and big pharma, had a highly profitable–and, to me, questionable– vaccine to administer!
Now we come to abnormal uterine bleeding, or AUB, which a 1977 South African study (that has since been duplicated) showed a 92.5 percent cure rate with the treatment of Vit A (not beta carotene). There are plenty of other blood issues that may lead to AUB, too. Sickle cell factors in black women, hormonal imbalances,clotting disorders,etc. there is a list that blood tests identify.. but how often are these simple tests shunned while dangerous and life altering surgeries are immediately put on the table? In reality and much to their patient's harm, removing the uterus may prove to only be removing a symptom while allowing an undiagnosed disease's unchecked progression.
Then there is endometriosis… which can be medically treated or surgically removed- all the while leaving the uterus and ovaries intact. Again, these are conservative courses of treatment that are all too often denied to women.
While I'm on the subject of endo, I want to note that endo's origination can be endometrial tissue that is surgically transplanted; however, since a surgeon would be implicit in that, endometrial surgical tranplantation is rarely acknowledged. But, women, have a care before allowing any surgical procedure…especially tube tying.
Something else, studies have shown an association with endo and tampons. Certainly, it does make sense that menstrual blood, containing endometrial tissue, if blocked, could backup the same course to the pelvis that the human egg travels down. Still, we haven't heard any gyn warnings.
And, since the list has mentioned abortions, I would have the group know that I have read where the most common cause of cervical incompetence is surgical trauma. Turns out that pulling the uterus down into the vagina to do an abortion, or a D&C, does not bode well for future pregnancies– or for pelvic floor integrity.
My personal opinion is that it is no coincidence in that we are talking about the same group of doctors when we speak of hysterectomy and abortion.
This speciality tends to foster an arrogance that they are better than the rest of humanity and that the "inferior's" population needs curtailing. There is actually a book,"The Social Responsibility of OB/GYN," that elaborates on this and a gyn conference, at a top rated medical school, that was devoted to it.
Lastly, I will reference a speech once given by a leader of ACOG at the time. He stood at his podium to declare the uterus worthless beyond childbearing and publicly advocated for its' removal once childbearing was completed. The cruelety of his remarks, given the wealth of knowledge counter to his claims, is beyond comprehension to most.
Sadly, this man is far from alone. Before it was found to be politically incorrect, gyns used to put "useless uterus" down as the reason for having a hysterectomy. This, despite all their papers, articles, and texts that document what they then knew to the contrary.
And, no, I am not saying that every gyn has disregarded his Hippocratic oath, but, the surgical numbers for unnecessary hysterectomy and castration point to a profession that largely is now operating without any sort of moral compass. no "o"
Proof of the deception these surgeons use to protect their revenue stream from these very profitable surgeries:
In 1994, Dr. West wrote of attending a seminar on medical economics: “The topic was how to care for women in order to maximise our fee. The experts who led the discussion reminded us that gynaecologists make the most money by doing surgery and that the highest fee we can generate come from hysterectomy. With that in mind, we were urged to ‘cultivate’ our patients carefully. Initially care would require advice on contraception. Then, in the normal course of events, we would supervise their pregnancies and deliver their babies. Once a patient had completed her family, we were advised to plant the idea that she might some day need a hysterectomy. The culmination of our years of care would be the hysterectomy. With proper planning, our advisers suggested, each year of practice would produce a lucrative ‘crop’ of women ripe for hysterectomy.26
26. West, ibid., pp. 28-29
In my case, my sadistic ob/gyn, Richard C. Muckerman II (St. Louis), saw me through many years of ob/gyn “care” but instead of “planting the idea” of a hysterectomy, he handled a non-emergency situation as an emergency thereby not allowing me time to discover the horror of hysterectomy and ovary removal. The hospital, St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, was complicit by allowing him to remove my healthy organs.
If he had “planted the idea” over time, I suspect that I would not have been duped and would still have my organs as I had no female problems until that fateful day. However, this type of tactic is equally sadistic and unconscionable.
Rachel Maddow is a host on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Please take a few minutes to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and describe your experience in a short summary. Also ask her to contact the HERS Foundation and to visit their website http://www.hersfoundation.org and blog http://www.hysterectomyinformation.
blogspot.com/. Please ask Rachel to contact HERS about the solution to this problem, HAVE LAW.
STOP the bailouts to doctors and hospitals that perform damaging surgeries especially unnecessary hysterectomies and castrations. They profit even after the surgery because you have a life-time of expenses going from doctor to doctor and having a drawer full of medication that you soon discover doesn’t help. The consequences of this damaging surgery is forever. It damages the woman and her family. She is unable to work as before her surgery. We end up disabled. We are the ones who should get a bailout!
STOP the insurances companies from getting any bailouts because they pay for these unnecessary surgeries. I even wrote to my insurance company and told them to stop paying for hysterectomies and castrations and they told me they weren’t able to do anything about it. They are forced to pay for surgeries whether they are necessary or unnecessary. WHAT AN ANSWER!!!
The law as it is written protect the doctors and hospitals. They are allowed to do whatever they want and the courts let them.
Torture is illegal under national and international law; yet many nations still employ torture as a means to terrorize and intimidate their citizens. The methods of torture are as varied as they are cruel: rape, whipping, suspension upside down, submersion in water to the brink of death, burning, and electric shocks to sensitive areas, among others. Psychological torture includes humiliation, degrading insults, threats (both personal and directed towards family members), and torturing loved ones in front of family and friends.
GOOD ONE! Hysterectomied women are tortured in the worse way. Everything seems to be controlled by laws except destroying a woman’s life by ripping out her healthy organs. If that’s not torture, what is?
I don’t think the government will ever step in and do something about this worse kind of abuse against women and their families.
TOO MUCH MONEY BEING MADE!!
“Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited”
“There is one place in which one’s privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed – one’s body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sadistically and sexually, with undisguised pleasure. Hence the all-pervasive, long-lasting, and, frequently, irreversible effects and outcomes of torture.
In a way, the torture victim’s own body is rendered his worse enemy. It is corporeal agony that compels the sufferer to mutate, his identity to fragment, his ideals and principles to crumble. The body becomes an accomplice of the tormentor, an uninterruptible channel of communication, a treasonous, poisoned territory.
It fosters a humiliating dependency of the abused on the perpetrator. Bodily needs denied – sleep, toilet, food, water – are wrongly perceived by the victim as the direct causes of his degradation and dehumanization. As he sees it, he is rendered bestial not by the sadistic bullies around him but by his own flesh.
The concept of “body” can easily be extended to “family”, or “home”. Torture is often applied to kin and kith, compatriots, or colleagues. This intends to disrupt the continuity of “surroundings, habits, appearance, relations with others”, as the CIA put it in one of its manuals. A sense of cohesive self-identity depends crucially on the familiar and the continuous. By attacking both one’s biological body and one’s “social body”, the victim’s psyche is strained to the point of dissociation.
Beatrice Patsalides describes this transmogrification thus in “Ethics of the Unspeakable: Torture Survivors in Psychoanalytic Treatment”:
“As the gap between the ‘I’ and the ‘me’ deepens, dissociation and alienation increase. The subject that, under torture, was forced into the position of pure object has lost his or her sense of interiority, intimacy, and privacy. Time is experienced now, in the present only, and perspective – that which allows for a sense of relativity – is foreclosed. Thoughts and dreams attack the mind and invade the body as if the protective skin that normally contains our thoughts, gives us space to breathe in between the thought and the thing being thought about, and separates between inside and outside, past and present, me and you, was lost.”
Torture robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality and, thus, is the equivalent of cognitive death. Space and time are warped by sleep deprivation. The self (“I”) is shattered. The tortured have nothing familiar to hold on to: family, home, personal belongings, loved ones, language, name. Gradually, they lose their mental resilience and sense of freedom. They feel alien – unable to communicate, relate, attach, or empathize with others.
Torture splinters early childhood grandiose narcissistic fantasies of uniqueness, omnipotence, invulnerability, and impenetrability. But it enhances the fantasy of merger with an idealized and omnipotent (though not benign) other – the inflicter of agony. The twin processes of individuation and separation are reversed.
Torture is the ultimate act of perverted intimacy. The torturer invades the victim’s body, pervades his psyche, and possesses his mind. Deprived of contact with others and starved for human interactions, the prey bonds with the predator. “Traumatic bonding”, akin to the Stockholm Syndrome, is about hope and the search for meaning in the brutal and indifferent and nightmarish universe of the torture cell.
The abuser becomes the black hole at the center of the victim’s surrealistic galaxy, sucking in the sufferer’s universal need for solace. The victim tries to “control” his tormentor by becoming one with him (introjecting him) and by appealing to the monster’s presumably dormant humanity and empathy.
This bonding is especially strong when the torturer and the tortured form a dyad and “collaborate” in the rituals and acts of torture (for instance, when the victim is coerced into selecting the torture implements and the types of torment to be inflicted, or to choose between two evils).
The psychologist Shirley Spitz offers this powerful overview of the contradictory nature of torture in a seminar titled “The Psychology of Torture” (1989):
“Torture is an obscenity in that it joins what is most private with what is most public. Torture entails all the isolation and extreme solitude of privacy with none of the usual security embodied therein… Torture entails at the same time all the self-exposure of the utterly public with none of its possibilities for camaraderie or shared experience. (The presence of an all powerful other with whom to merge, without the security of the other’s benign intentions.)
A further obscenity of torture is the inversion it makes of intimate human relationships. The interrogation is a form of social encounter in which the normal rules of communicating, of relating, of intimacy are manipulated. Dependency needs are elicited by the interrogator, but not so they may be met as in close relationships, but to weaken and confuse. Independence that is offered in return for ‘betrayal’ is a lie. Silence is intentionally misinterpreted either as confirmation of information or as guilt for ‘complicity’.
Torture combines complete humiliating exposure with utter devastating isolation. The final products and outcome of torture are a scarred and often shattered victim and an empty display of the fiction of power.”
Obsessed by endless ruminations, demented by pain and a continuum of sleeplessness – the victim regresses, shedding all but the most primitive defense mechanisms: splitting, narcissism, dissociation, Projective Identification, introjection, and cognitive dissonance. The victim constructs an alternative world, often suffering from depersonalization and derealization, hallucinations, ideas of reference, delusions, and psychotic episodes.
Sometimes the victim comes to crave pain – very much as self-mutilators do – because it is a proof and a reminder of his individuated existence otherwise blurred by the incessant torture. Pain shields the sufferer from disintegration and capitulation. It preserves the veracity of his unthinkable and unspeakable experiences.
This dual process of the victim’s alienation and addiction to anguish complements the perpetrator’s view of his quarry as “inhuman”, or “subhuman”. The torturer assumes the position of the sole authority, the exclusive fount of meaning and interpretation, the source of both evil and good.
Torture is about reprogramming the victim to succumb to an alternative exegesis of the world, proffered by the abuser. It is an act of deep, indelible, traumatic indoctrination. The abused also swallows whole and assimilates the torturer’s negative view of him and often, as a result, is rendered suicidal, self-destructive, or self-defeating.
Thus, torture has no cut-off date. The sounds, the voices, the smells, the sensations reverberate long after the episode has ended – both in nightmares and in waking moments. The victim’s ability to trust other people – i.e., to assume that their motives are at least rational, if not necessarily benign – has been irrevocably undermined. Social institutions are perceived as precariously poised on the verge of an ominous, Kafkaesque mutation. Nothing is either safe, or credible anymore.
Victims typically react by undulating between emotional numbing and increased arousal: insomnia, irritability, restlessness, and attention deficits. Recollections of the traumatic events intrude in the form of dreams, night terrors, flashbacks, and distressing associations.
The tortured develop compulsive rituals to fend off obsessive thoughts. Other psychological sequelae reported include cognitive impairment, reduced capacity to learn, memory disorders, sexual dysfunction, social withdrawal, inability to maintain long-term relationships, or even mere intimacy, phobias, ideas of reference and superstitions, delusions, hallucinations, psychotic microepisodes, and emotional flatness.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Castration in humans
“The practice of castration has its roots before recorded human history. Castration was frequently used in certain cultures of Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa and China, for religious or social reasons. After battles in some cases, winners castrated their captives or the corpses of the defeated to symbolise their victory and ‘seize’ their power, and often to take control of their women. Castrated men — eunuchs — were often admitted to special social classes and were used particularly to staff bureaucracies and palace households: in particular, the harem. Castration also figured in a number of religious cults. Other religions, for example Judaism and Islam, were strongly opposed to the practice. The Leviticus Holiness code, for example, specifically excludes eunuchs or any males with defective genitals from the priesthood, just as castrated animals are excluded from sacrifice.
Eunuchs in China have been known to usurp power in many eras of Chinese history, most notably in the Later Han, late Tang and late Ming Dynasties. Gang Bing, a Ming Dynasty Chinese general and eunuch was notable for his act of self-castration as a display of loyalty to his emperor. There are similar recorded Middle Eastern events.
In ancient times, castration often involved the total removal of all the male genitalia. This involved great danger of death due to bleeding or infection and, in some states, such as the Byzantine Empire, was seen as the same as a death sentence. Removal of only the testicles had much less risk.
In China, castration of a male who entered the caste of eunuchs during imperial times involved the removal of the whole genitalia, that is, the removal of the testes, penis, and scrotum. The removed organs were returned to the eunuch to be interred with him when he died so that, upon rebirth, he could become a whole man again. The penis, testicles, and scrotum were euphemistically termed bǎo (寶) in Mandarin Chinese, which literally means ‘precious treasure’. These were preserved in alcohol and kept in a pottery jar by the eunuch.
In modern times, Czech Republic practices castrating convicted sex offenders. According to the reports compiled by Council of Europe, a human-rights forum, central European country castrated at least 94 prisoners in the 10 years up to April 2008. Czech Republic defends procedure as voluntary and effective. 
Testicular cancer is generally diagnosed by surgical removal of a tumorous testicle (inguinal orchiectomy), followed by radiation or chemotherapy if a cancerous tumor has metastasized. Unless both testicles are cancerous, only one is removed.
Either surgical removal of both testicles or chemical castration may be carried out in the case of prostate cancer, as hormone testosterone-depletion treatment to slow down the cancer. Similarly, testosterone-depletion treatment (either surgical removal of both testicles or chemical castration) is used to greatly reduce sexual drive or interest in those with sexual drives, obsessions, or behaviors, or any combination of those that may be considered deviant. Castration in humans has been proposed, and sometimes used, as a method of birth control in economically or geographically restricted regions, such as the Chatham Islands in the southwest Pacific.
Male-to-female transsexuals often undergo orchiectomy, as do some other transgendered people. Orchiectomy may be performed as a part of more general sex reassignment surgery, either before or during other procedures, but it may also be performed on someone who does not desire, or cannot afford, further surgery.
 As punishment
Involuntary castration also appears in the history of warfare, sometimes used by one side to torture or demoralize their enemies. Even when performed quickly, as by a sword strike, it is excruciatingly painful, because not only the testicles, but also the spermatic cords, are thickly wrapped in nerve fibers and extremely sensitive to impact and injury, but most castrations as punishments were performed as slowly as possible to worsen the intensity of the victim’s agony and lengthen its duration. Standard practice in France from the Middle-Ages to the French Revolution was to crush the condemned’s testicles in a vise, which burst them as mush from the scrotum, then crunch the spermatic cords with pliers. The condemned was turned upside down in order to maximize the blood flow to his brain after which he was unable to pass out or enter a state of shock until, perhaps, the last few seconds of his ordeal. The condemned was sure to vomit repeatedly with violent convulsions, even well after he had voided the contents of his stomach, but he rarely screamed except for an initial shriek, which immediately silenced, because the pain overwhelmed his ability to breathe. Most men would hang and thrash wildly during and after the crushing of each testicle, and their thrashing would renew upon the crushing of each spermatic cord, This torture method (accompanied by others) was usually reserved for the crime of regicide or attempted regicide. The condemned was mercifully put to death afterwards, but his torture routinely lasted for the better part of a day, witnessed by large crowds. It is interesting to note that, whereas most crowds were instructed to jeer, mock, and ridicule the condemned, and did so even during a disemboweling, and drawing and quartering, most crowds remained silent and stared with shocked expressions as a castration was carried out in this manner. Onlookers, male and female, are recorded to have vomited at the sight of the spectacle. The crushing of the spermatic cords produces a sound, which veterinarians (who routinely perform this castration procedure on anaesthetized, large livestock, such as horses) usually describe as similar to crushing an entire head of frozen celery, wrapped in rubber bands. Castration was also practiced to extinguish opposing male lineages and thus allow the victor to sexually possess the defeated group’s women.
Tamerlane was recorded to have castrated Armenian prisoners of war who had fought as allies of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, while others were buried alive.
Edward Gibbon’s famous work Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire reports castration of defeated foes at the hands of the Normans. Castration has also been used in modern conflicts, as the Janjaweed militiamen attacking citizens of the Darfur region in Sudan, often castrating villagers and leaving them to bleed to death.
Sima Qian, the famous Chinese historian, was castrated by order of the Han dynasty Emperor Wu for dissent.
Another famous victim of castration was the medieval French philosopher, scholar, teacher, and (later) monk Pierre Abélard, castrated by relatives of his lover, Héloïse.
Bishop Wimund, a 12th century English adventurer and invader of the Scottish coast, was also castrated.
“Voluntary” chemical or surgical castration has been in practice in many countries—reports are available from American, Scandinavian, and European countries, in particular, for the past eighty-plus years (chemical for the last thirty or so years)—as an option for treatment for people who have broken laws of a sexual nature, allowing them to return to the community from otherwise lengthy detentions . The effectiveness and ethics of this treatment are heavily debated.
A temporary chemical castration has been studied and developed as a preventive measure and punishment for several repeated sex crimes, such as rape or other sexually related violence. Chemical castration was Alan Turing’s punishment when he was convicted of “acts of gross indecency” (homosexual acts) in 1952; it resulted, indirectly, in his suicide.
Physical castration appears to be highly effective as, historically, it results in a 20-year re-offense rate of less than 2.3% vs. 80% in the untreated control group, according to a large 1963 study involving a total of 1036 sex offenders by the German researcher A. Langelüddeke, among others, much lower than what was otherwise expected compared to overall sex offender recidivism rates.
 For religious reasons
In Europe, when women were not permitted to sing in church or cathedral choirs in the Roman Catholic Church, boys were sometimes castrated to prevent their voices breaking at puberty and to develop a special high voice. The first documents mentioning castrati are Italian church records from the 1550s. In the baroque music era these singers were highly appreciated by Opera composers as well. Famous castrati include Farinelli, Senesino, Carestini, and Caffarelli. Joseph Haydn was almost castrated. The last castrato, and the only one of which recordings are extant, was Alessandro Moreschi (1858-1922) who served in the Sistine Chapel Choir. However, in the late 1800s, the Roman Catholic Church, which had always considered castration to be mutilation of the body and therefore a severe sin, officially condemned the production of castrati; their castrations had been performed clandestinely in contravention of Church law.
A number of religious cults have included castration as a central theme of their practice. These include:
The cult of Cybele, in which devotees castrated themselves in ecstatic emulation of Attis: see Gallus.
Some followers of early Christianity considered castration as an acceptable way to counter sinful desires of the flesh. Origen is reported by Eusebius  to have castrated himself based on his reading of the Gospel of Matthew 19:12, although there is some doubt concerning this story (Schaff considers the account genuine but cites Baur et al. in opposition). Boston Corbett was likewise inspired by this same verse to castrate himself (Corbett was the 19th-century American soldier who is generally believed to have fired the shot that killed John Wilkes Booth.) Bishop Melito of Sardis (d. ca 180) was a eunuch, according to the church history of Eusebius of Caesarea, though, significantly the word “virgin” was substituted in Rufino’s Latin translation of Eusebius. First Canon of First Council of Nicea condemns self-castration, attesting to presence of this practice in 4th century.
While Deuteronomy 23:1 expels castrated men from the assembly of Israel, Isaiah 56:3, while not permitting castration still allows an accepting view of eunuchs. However, this verse is seen as a metaphor by classic scholors. In Acts 8:34-39, a eunuch is baptized.
Main article: Chemical castration
In the case of chemical castration, ongoing regular injections of anti-androgens are required.
Chemical castration seems to have a greater effect on bone density than physical castration. Since the development of teriparatide, this severe bone loss has been able to be reversed in nearly every case. At this time there is a limitation on the use of this medication to 24 months until the long-term use is better evaluated.
With the advent of chemical castration, physical castration is not generally recommended by the medical community unless medically necessary or desired.
 Medical consequences
A male subject who is castrated before the onset of puberty will retain a high voice, non-muscular build, and small genitals. Castrated boys may grow to be taller than average men because, without the input of hormones, the long bones continue to grow. This extra height is referred to sometimes as the ‘eunuchoid’ effect. This can be avoided in trans girls (those who transition from boy to girl) by administering estrogen which caps unwanted growth. The person may not develop pubic hair and will have a small sex drive or none at all. Castrations after the onset of puberty will typically reduce sex drive considerably or eliminate it altogether. Also, castrates are automatically sterile, because the testes produce sex cells needed for sexual reproduction. The voice does not deepen with the onset of puberty. Some castrates report mood changes, such as depression or a more serene outlook on life. Body strength and muscle mass can decrease somewhat. Body hair sometimes may decrease. Castration prevents male pattern baldness if it is done before hair is lost; however, castration will not restore hair growth after hair has already been lost. Castration necessarily eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
Historically, eunuchs who additionally underwent a penectomy reportedly suffered from urinary incontinence associated with the removal of the penis, and they had their own specialist doctors.
Without hormone replacement therapy (HRT), typical symptoms (similar to those experienced by menopausal women) include hot flashes; gradual bone density loss, possibly resulting in osteopenia and/or osteoporosis; potential weight gain or redistribution of body fat to the hips and/or chest. Replacement of testosterone via gel, patches, or injections, can largely reverse these effects, although breast enlargement has also been reported as a possible side effect of testosterone usage.
The concept of castration anxiety plays an important role in psychoanalysis, though in this field the term sometimes refers to removal of penis rather than of testes.
As a matter of interest, some modern day Eunuchs use the title or prefix “Eu.” rather than “Mr.”. ie: “Eu. John Smith”.”
Mad as Hell says
In response to the “Castration in Humans” post:
“However, in the late 1800s, the Roman Catholic Church, which had always considered castration to be mutilation of the body and therefore a severe sin, officially condemned the production of castrati; their castrations had been performed clandestinely in contravention of Church law.”
The Roman Catholic Church is a big perpetrator in the castration industry, severe sin or not. A Catholic hospital is just as likely to be the scene of a castration as a non-Catholic hospital.
My wife was told to have a hysterectomy, but we are resistaing that proposal until we get at least a 2nd maybe 3rd opinion. The problem is that we are having hard time getting someone to take my wife as a patient without a referral. My wife knows of a doctor that she would like to see, but her primary OB/GYN has refused to to make a referral on her behalf. This has upset both of us. We will be in the Virginia Hampton Roads area in May. Can you assist us in getting someone to give a second opinion on this hysterectomy recommendation?
Background: Her pprimary OB/GYN told her there were too many fibroids to save her uterus, but we have been researching through the Internet and others that have had fibroid problems and everyone is telling us that the doctor was too quick to make that decision.
HERS Foundation says
To discuss physician referral please contact Irene Park at HERS, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, at 610.667.7757.
HERS Foundation says
If you want to support creating a law that will compel doctors to provide the information women need before they are told to sign a hysterectomy consent form go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saynotilyouknow/
and SIGN the PETITION. You have the power to help HERS stop this from becoming the legacy of the next generation of women and girls.
Mad as Hell says
Ask your friends and family members to sign the petition too!
Let’s stop the “carnage!”
Perhaps it would be good to get a ballot going in congress for the wounded womens woumbs – www. This will give us a voice, what do you think?
I think that if you can avoid the surgery all the better i had one 15 weeks ago and still have lots of pain when standing, even a simple tast of washing dishes i want to climb the walls with the pain as for the orgasims part i find that they have diminished hardly get them any more. So if you can stay clear away….