‘The Bleeding Edge’ Documentary

How can I not address this documentary, it’s everywhere right now from hip forums to Instagram.  It isn’t something that I can ignore and not touch base on.

If you didn’t know what I’m talking about Netflix recently released a documentary about medical devices and I watched it.  It’s called ‘The Bleeding Edge’ is explained below by Rotten Tomatoes (https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_bleeding_edge/):

America has the most technologically advanced health care system in the world, yet medical interventions have become the third leading cause of death, and the overwhelming majority of high-risk implanted devices never require a single clinical trial. In THE BLEEDING EDGE, Academy Award (R) nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (THE INVISIBLE WAR, THE HUNTING GROUND) turn their sights on the $400 billion medical device industry, examining lax regulations, corporate cover-ups, and profit driven incentives that put patients at risk daily.

*This is simply my opinion on the documentary and the information provided in the production.  I am not here to cause fear, only address my reaction to the doc itself.

The documentary covers various medical devices including permanent birth control, surgical equipment and hip replacements… yes, hip replacements.  This I knew when I started watching but I did not know any particulars.  The main thing being discussed in relation to the hip replacements is Cobalt poisoning and metal on metal hips.  Once I heard this my heart sunk and my stomach turned.  (No, I don’t have metal on metal hips but still)  I immediately paused the doc and turned to my boyfriend (who I made watch it with me) ‘I have cobalt in my replacements’.  He swore I didn’t.  I ran to my office, grabbed my file folder of documentation from pre & post surgery and came back to the couch.

I pulled out my pre-surgery folder from my first hip replacement.  Looked through it until I found yellow lose leaf paper and read the words a few pages in.  ‘Cobalt chrome alloy ball’  (It was in my boyfriends handwriting as he had been the one taking notes through that appointment).  I also have (if your interested in knowing) a titanium cup with a polyethylene coating (I think, it’s hard to read his writing).  So not metal on metal.

I took a deep breath and kept watching.

I’ll be honest, I missed at first that they were talking about metal on metal hips, the word cobalt kinda just stuck in my head and stood out for me.  The concern with the Cobalt poisoning is the neurological damage.  Memory and nerve problems have been reported.  It is reversible, just need to change the implants, nothing permanent, which is fantastic news.

So many emotions happened to me throughout the hour and 31 minute doc.  Sadness, anger, uncertainty and fear to name only a few.  Not just because of the hip replacement information, but more so due to the entire situation with the FDA and the companies producing the medical devices.  It just breaks my heart.

Watching this documentary verified my gut feeling to get metal testing regularly to ensure nothing was going wrong.  I had it in my mind to do this pre-replacements.

I have since booked my appointment to speak with my Family Doctor about getting my first test done.  There is nothing wrong with checking, I am feeling fine and the film doesn’t go into all the particulars of the amount of Cobalt or the impact on individuals difference ages, or anything like that.  The research is still fairly new and very limited.

I don’t want this to scare anyone away from getting help or having surgery when it’s needed, it just confirms the need to do your own research and be your own advocate.  If something doesn’t feel or seem right, it’s okay to bring it up to your physician.  There are multiple different types of hip replacements and different approval processes in each country (this doc is about the States).

There is a lot of medical devices that save lives and change lives for the better all the time.  I still feel that way about my replacements.  It’s all about weighing the risks, asking questions and making the best decision for yourself.

Cover Photo from @bleedingedgedoc twitter account

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