This episode's guest

Sarah Salem-Robinson
Sarah Salem-Robinson
Expert Contributor

Physician’s assistant and patient advocate Sarah Salem-Robinson is my guest on this episode of the Drugwatch Podcast. On this episode, we discuss Salem-Robinson’s harrowing health journey after she underwent minimally invasive surgery with a surgical tool called a power morcellator.

Her first encounter with a power morcellator was as an OB/GYN physician’s assistant in California. She assisted in the operating room during a hysterectomy and was disturbed when she saw the uterus shredded and sucked out through a tube.

“I watched and I had anxiety and I was shocked at first,” Salem-Robinson told Drugwatch. “But I could also feel the elation in the OR at the time, especially from the GYN surgeon that I worked for because he had a new tool on hand.”

While power morcellators promise quicker incision healing times and less risk of complications such as bleeding and infection, they also come with a much more dangerous risk — the risk of spreading undiagnosed uterine cancer.

Not long after her operating room introduction with the morcellator, Salem-Robinson’s doctors recommended the device for her fibroid removal. They assured her she was cancer free and she would be fine.

Then, a week after her surgery, doctors told her she had leiomyosarcoma, an aggressive uterine cancer. Overall, only about 40 percent of women survive about five years with the disease.

At stage one, 60 to 80 percent may survive five years, according to Salem-Robinson. After a morcellation, that number drops to 10 percent.

On this episode, Salem-Robinson takes us through her cancer treatment process and the health problems she still faces today because of her morcellation surgery.

The experience led her to become an advocate and start a campaign against morcellation. She also has a petition to make medical devices safer for all Americans.

Last modified: September 13, 2017

Meet Your Host

Michelle Y. Llamas is a senior content writer. She is also the host of Drugwatch Podcast where she interviews medical experts as well as patients affected by drugs and medical devices. She has written medical and legal content for several years — including an article in The Journal of Palliative Medicine and an academic book review for Nova Science Publishers. With Drugwatch, she has developed relationships with legal and medical professionals as well as with several patients and support groups. Prior to writing for Drugwatch, she spent several years as a legal assistant for a personal injury law firm in Orlando. She obtained her English – Technical Communication degree from the University of Central Florida. She is a committee member with the American Medical Writers Association.

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