U.S. Rep. DeLauro works to end ‘drive-through mastectomies’

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes a part of Shelton, has reintroduced legislation intended to ensure that the decision of when to leave the hospital after a lumpectomy or mastectomy is made by a woman and her healthcare provider.

DeLauro said women now can be forced out sooner, even just hours after their procedure, in what is commonly referred to as a “drive-through mastectomy.”

She said the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act currently has the support of 74 members of Congress. The bill was first introduced by DeLauro in 1996 and once passed the House of Representatives but has never been enacted into law.

Ovarian cancer survivor

“Twenty-seven years ago, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and I can tell you that the diagnosis, treatments and recovery are not easy, physically or emotionally,” DeLauro said. “To imagine coming out of breast cancer surgery — still in pain and groggy from anesthesia — and being told to leave the hospital is simply unconscionable.

“I have worked with insurance companies to end these callous policies, but piecemeal changes are not enough,” she said. “The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act will ensure that this basic consumer protection is guaranteed to people across the country, no matter what insurance they have. And it is simply the right thing to do.”

What the bill would accomplish

According to a press release from DeLauro’s office, 226,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed last year in the United States.

DeLauro said the bill would:

—Guarantee a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours for anyone having a mastectomy or lumpectomy, and 24 hours for anyone undergoing a lymph node removal.

—Ensure that anyone who has a mastectomy or lumpectomy for treatment of breast cancer has access to secondary medical opinions.

—Ensure coverage of radiation therapy should they choose to have a lumpectomy.

About Rosa DeLauro

DeLauro is from New Haven and has represented the Third Congressional District since 1991. Shelton is divided between two congressional districts. U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, also a Democrat, represents the Fourth District that covers other parts of Shelton.