Today in El Diario: Women Dying For Mammograms

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Audit: Women might die waiting for their mammograms


City Controller John C. Liu said that hundreds of New York's women will face dangerous waits for mammograms, according to the Spanish-language daily.

Liu's announcement is the result of an internal audit of nine Health and Hospitals Corporation facilities.

Ines Gonzalez, a 35 year-old Corona resident, told the newspaper that she has been a patient of Elmhurst Hospital for two years. She said she requested a mammogram several months ago, but hospital personnel insisted that she obtain an ob-gyn checkup before the procedure.

"They told me that first, I would have to have an appointment with a gynecologist. After my exam, a specialist would decide if it's necessary for me to have a mammogram. And I've been waiting for that exam for a long time," she told El Diario.

Margarita Pompa, 42, went to the same hospital Wednesday to find out about mammograms, as her age puts her at higher risk of breast cancer.

"They told me that I had to get an appointment with a gynecologist, which I could get in September," she told the paper. "That's too long to wait. They told me to go to a hospital clinic at 59-17 Junction Boulevard to get more information, but I don't have the time to go all the way there. I feel discouraged."

In some clinics, women must wait three weeks for a mammogram. At Elmhurst hospital, they sometimes wait up to 50 days, the paper reports.

"For years, politicians in this city have stressed the importance of mammograms,. Unfortunately, great difficulties and the failure of hospitals have undermined this," Liu said.

"When a woman suspects that she might have breast cancer, waiting 50 days for a diagnostic mammogram can be agonizing, and the wait can put off necessary, emergency treatment," Lois Uttley, of Raising Women's Voices, told the paper.

Health and Hospitals Corporation guidelines require that women receive a mammogram within 14 days of requesting one, a directive which is not followed at various HHC centers in the city, the paper reports.


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