I’ve been thinking about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a preventative double mastectomy. When reading comments about this on the Internet, I have read two types of comments. One type praise her for having the courage to do it, and the other type mention the fact that most people would not be able to afford such an expensive surgery that was carried out only for preventative reasons. However there is a third issue which I have noticed that no one has mentioned. Any kind of invasive procedure carries with it a not inconsequential risk of complications, and infection. Many superbugs exist today for which our current antibiotics no longer work. For this reason, the risk of infection is a very serious one that I believe that too many people give too much consideration to. One of the contributing causes of my father’s death was an infection that he received while he was in the hospital. Of course I realize that this is not directly related to Angelina Jolie’s case, but it does show that the risk of infection in hospitals is very real.

I also believe that many times doctors try to scare patients into having unnecessary surgery. Too often surgeons pressure patients to have such unnecessary surgeries. I think it should be kept in mind that many surgeons in the US are extremely pro-surgery. Many of them look at it as a business. They make money from performing these surgeries. Too often surgeons tell you about the good aspects of having the surgery, but they don’t tell you about the downside. Often they won’t tell you about the risk of infection, and the other possible complications unless you ask them. My philosophy is if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I certainly hope that Angelina Jolie asked a lot of questions. For example, how did they determine that she had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer? What is the risk of infection from the operations? Do the breast implants need to be replaced, and if so, how often do they need to be replaced?

In the past, I’ve heard horror stories of the damage that the poorly done breast replaced can produce. Hopefully, they have now solved those problems, but I certainly hope that Angelina Jolie discussed all the possible complications with her doctor before the surgery. I want to make clear that I do understand why she did what she did. I understand she wants to be around for her children, and did not want to take the risk of getting breast cancer, I only hope that she thoroughly discussed the downside of the surgery with her doctor, and what all the possible complications might be. I just worry that she is such a high-profile person, and she spoke so positively about her decision that it might convince other women to make the same decision even when they do not really need to have the surgery.