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Legislation Introduced by Congresswoman DeLauro

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108th Congress

The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, H.R. 1886   Back to Legislation

This year, approximately 184,300 mothers, daughters, and grandmothers will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Another 44,300 women will die from this deadly form of cancer. With every one in eight American women developing this disease, it's difficult to find a person who doesn't know someone who is affected by breast cancer.

In 1996, a Middletown surgeon named Dr. Kristin Zarfos sought the help of Congresswoman DeLauro in confronting what she described as the greatest challenge of her surgical career. She faced two HMOs refusing hospitalization for women undergoing a mastectomy or lymph node removal for breast cancer. Despite a prevailing medical standard of two to four days to recuperate and gain physical and emotional strength, women were regularly faced with being sent home a few hours after surgery.

Dr. Zarfos and Congresswoman DeLauro worked together to find a legislative solution to the problem of outpatient mastectomies. DeLauro introduced the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act in January 1997 to ensure that women suffering from breast cancer receive the medical attention they deserve.  It was reintroduced in 108th Congress on April 30, 2003 and designated H.R. 1886.

The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act will guarantee a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours for a woman having a mastectomy, and 24 hours for a woman undergoing a lymph node removal, and will ensure that any decision to have a shorter hospital stay will be made by the patient and her doctor -- not an insurance company more concerned with the health of its profits than the health of the patient. Forcing women to leave the hospital too soon after surgery is dangerous and demeaning, and this bill intends to stop the practice.

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