Working to educate and create social change ~
Dr. Vikki Hufnagel’s Influence on the Women’s Healthcare Movement:
She exposed the massive female surgical abuses in the United States which were epidemic (and still are) in women’s healthcare.
Dr. V.G.Hufnagel, MD
(Born March 17, 1949)
A fierce proponent of women’s health and rights, Hufnagel dedicated her life’s work to educating women about the issues affecting them and their quality of life.
Her book, No More Hysterectomies, revolutionized the women’s health care field and the concepts concerning the role and function of the female reproductive system.
In the 1980’s she worked with CA Senator Diane Watson to put in place the nation’s FIRST informed consent law, Senate Bill 835 (Informed Consent to Hysterectomy).
She founded the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH). This organization worked to establish health care rights for all women globally.
She created and developed “Female Reconstructive Surgery” (FRS) as an alternative to hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions such as fibroids, adenomyosis, and uterine prolapse. Women previously had NO other options besides hysterectomy.
She was the FIRST physician to come forth and FULLY EXPOSE and document the massive female surgical abuses in the United States.
(Hysterectomies in the United States, 1965–1984, Vital & Health Statistics; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 1987).
In the late 80’s, Hufnagel provided testimony before the U.S. Congress and the National Institute of Health on gender issues in medicine… and made the following statement:
“Over 90% of all hysterectomies are unnecessary”
Dr. Vikki G. Hufnagel, MD ~1987
This quote was a statement of fact made public to Congress almost 30 years ago by Dr. V. G. Hufnagel, MD.
It was also an action of “BLOWING THE WHISTLE”.
She knew it, the ACOG knew it, and others understood it as well to be an action of “blowing the whistle”. She was EXPOSING RAMPANT CRIMINAL ABUSES which were then (and still are) EPIDEMIC in women’s healthcare.
This statement was FIRST MADE as the the DATA was being MADE PUBLIC by Dr. V. G. Hufnagel, MD. It was she who did the RESEARCH, complied the DATA, exposed the FACTS and data publicly, and originally stated “over 90% of all hysterectomies are unnecessary” when she provided her TESTIMONY TO CONGRESS.
Hufnagels’ statement, “Over 90% of all hysterectomies are unnecessary”… her work and the FULL meaning behind her quote… and ALL her ACTIONS of WHISTLE-BLOWING was (and still is) HISTORIC and FOREVER CHANGED WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE.
Dr. Hufnagel’s Early History: 1970's
(a second wave feminist…)
In the early 70’s Hufnagel attended the University of California; School of Medicine, Davis, California (Berkeley). While at the University of California Berkeley she was a founding member of the Berkeley Women’s Health Collective. She helped to establish the first free clinic for women at Berkeley Ca.
She contributed and wrote chapters for the revolutionary self-help book “Our Bodies, Ourselves” (Simon and Schuster) with members of the Boston Bread and Roses Collective (the original edition was printed on news print).
This early work was focused on education of women about their bodies. As a student at Berkeley, she set up the first classes on Women’s Health.
Hufnagel and The Early Days of the Women’s Health Movement
The early days of the “Women’s Health Movement” in the 70’s was tumultuous. It was not uncommon for women’s health clinics to be raided. The full history is an entire text on its own so I’m referring to some notable articles on the subject to give you, the reader, a historical perceptive of the changes that were occurring in women’s health care (see below):
One of Hufnagel’s student papers in infectious disease from the early 70’s revealed that the Dalkon Shield caused infection and septic shock which was killing women. Years later, as a MD whistle-blower and women’s health right activist, Hufnagel testified as an expert witness in Dalkon Shield cases and treated several victims.
The Dalkon Shield today in its own right is infamous for being a product that injured masses of women and being the root cause for congress enacting laws (medical device amendments) which lead to the FDA tiered premarket approval (PMA) system and “Preemption laws” which are in place today.
These FDA laws were meant to protect health consumers but because of loopholes the laws today instead protect medical product manufactures from lawsuits caused by their injurious products as is best demonstrated by the Essure product which is marketed and sold today.
Early in her career (80’s) Hufnagel became known as the “Ralph Nader” of Women’s Health Care. She testified in many court cases for women who were victims of hysterectomy abuse, sterilization abuse, the Dalkon Shield, and historically blew the whistle on a number of products such as Ova bloc, morcellation, and UFE. In the 1980’s and into the 1990’s she was known as the “#1 National Women’s Health Rights Consumer Advocate”. This was stated about Hufnagel by Oprah numerous times.
Today she is routinely in the news and media speaking out about criminal abuses in women’s health care. The abuses she speaks out about are complex and not just about medical/surgical abuses (and products) but also that of social issues, gender (women’s issues) AND RACE.
Black Women’s/Latino Women’s Healthcare and Lives Matters:
Historically, women in poor communities are subject to multiple abuses. Dr. Hufnagel provided support, care, and legal testimony for many black and Latino women locally (Los Angeles area) and nationally. She wrote and spoke out against the injustices she saw happening to all women (firsthand, as an insider). Then and now, she strongly advocates, reports, and speaks out about the LACK of EQUITY in BLACK/LATINO American’s Health Care.
Dr. Hufnagel has been the only physician to testify about the abuses of “women of color” in California and nationally. She worked with Congresswomen Waters and Watson to educate the community on widespread medical abuses. With Maxine Waters she spoke out against the common practice of breast removal in cases in which no breast cancer existed. She worked to inform women with breast cancer of options they have for their care. She documented the fact that women of color suffer from lack of medical services and lack of community support. She spoke out about finding that more black women die from breast cancer than white females.
Working with Dianne Watson, Dr. Hufnagel exposed the routine practice of hysterectomy on black females. She documented the higher rates per population of hysterectomy in the black community. In the late 1990’s she exposed the targeting of black females for an experimental procedure called uterine fibroid artery embolization (despite a 1990 FDA ban on PVA foam). At the time the UAE/UFE device (PVA foam) was NOT approved by the FDA for use for uterine fibroid treatment, yet it was being sold and marketed as such.
Today Dr. Vikki Hufnagel, MD continues to work to educate women about all matters concerning their health including hysterectomy, morcellation, uterine fibroid/artery embolization, breast implants, Essure/Ovabloc/tubal ligation risks/side effects, informed consent and works to CREATE SOCIAL CHANGE.
Media and Press: For more information/interview/comment contact:
Dr. Vikki Hufnagel, MD ~ DrVikki.com
Hufnagel Bioethics Institute