Saturday, December 13, 2008

Woman gives birth to swollen, infected appendix

By Darnell Washington, Newsophile Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO, CA -- In a medical first, a surgical team at UC San Diego Medical Center has removed a diseased appendix known as "Marjorie" from a patient's vagina. The patient, medical student Diana Schlamadinger-Eistenstein, 28, was among the first in the United States to participate in a procedure known as Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), which involves passing surgical instruments through a natural orifice, such as the mouth, vagina or rectum. As the technology improves, researchers are confident that NOTES can be expanded to include nostrils, eye sockets, ears and tear ducts.

"We originally wanted to remove the appendix through her mouth," explained Santiago Horgan, M.D., director of the UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery, "but when she wouldn't ever shut up, we realized using another orifice might be a lot quieter. Since she had a 'no rectum' rider to her contract, our choices were limited."

While Schlamadinger-Eistenstein is relieved that the surgery was successful, she continues to suffer from classic symptoms of post-partum depression usually reserved for mothers giving birth to fully formed human beings. "I realize I'm just a mother to a stillborn appendix in a jar, but tell that to my breasts," she tearfully told a reporter for the San Diego Union. "It's like they're ready to feed an army, and meanwhile I've got this jar on my nightstand saying 'No thanks, not hungry now!'"

In a rare example of agreement, both the local chapter of Planned Parenthood and the San Diego Catholic Archdiocese continue to urge Schlamadinger-Eistenstein to put Marjorie up for adoption. "There are a lot of willing labs around the country who could give this happy, cherubic appendix an excellent home," says Bishop Robert H. Brum. "Continuing to torture this poor organ with the nightly sight of lactating breasts and having no mouth to participate is totally inappropriate."

Nevertheless, Schlamadinger-Eistenstein is confident she'll move past the post-partum depression and prepare her vagina for better days to come. "One day I may even give birth to a pancreas, a kidney or part of my colon!"

Lillian Rasmussen also contributed to this story.