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Donda West's death inspires new bill

May 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The death of Kanye West's mother just one day after cosmetic surgery prompts one lawmaker's call for a tough new law demanding physicals of all patients facing elective surgery. Could a physical exam prior to undergoing cosmetic surgery have saved the life of Donda West? That disturbing question has prompted an assemblywoman's call for a tough new law. So how might you be affected by the passage of the proposed measure?Yolanda Anderson, hip-hop star Kanye West's cousin, is on a mission to prevent other California families from going through their tragedy. Her aunt and Kanye's mother, Donda West, died after cosmetic surgery last year.

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Her first choice for a surgeon refused to perform the procedure, saying it wouldn't be safe because of a pre-existing condition. So she found another doctor who would -- a practice known as "doctor shopping."

"A lot of patients do. So if the requirement is there that all doctors have to do the physical, it doesn't matter if they go shopping. They would be required to do the physical," said Assemblyman Wilmer Amina Carter, D-Rialto.

The West family's idea was chosen after they entered Assemblywoman Carter's "It ought to be a Law" contest. The Southland Democrat is readying for a floor debate next week to push it, even though serious complications from plastic surgery are rare -- only 1-in-near-59,000.

"The possibilities of people having this kind of surgery and having tragic results are many in the United States," said Assemblyman Carter.

The autopsy on Donda West revealed she had coronary artery disease. A physical exam before surgery is already standard practice for most doctors -- like state Senator Sam Aanestad, who's an oral surgeon.

"How do I know what the patient's risk assessment might be? How can I counsel them to have surgery unless I know what their physical condition is?" asked state Senator Sam Aanestad, D.D.S., R-Grass Valley.

Sen. Aanestad is likely to vote for the bill, giving it bi-partisan support. Even the California Medical Association is surprised the requirement isn't already on the books and wants it passed. There's no opposition on record.

The West family believes in this proposal so much, they are working to get it passed in several other states.

 

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