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Monday, April 03, 2006I just can't even say how much this terrifies me, despite being a three year old news story.
Pelvic Exams on Unconscious Women
I'd never heard of this, till someone told me that when they were in the hospital after a car accident, they found out that 10 medical students had "practiced" vaginal exams on her while she was under anesthesia to have her broken leg set.
That's right. You heard me. Ten medical students giving her a vaginal exam without her consent. Apparently, standard practice in most teaching hospitals until just a few years ago.
From the article:
Most medical students today learn the basics of the pelvic exam by practicing on paid volunteers but eventually need to move on to real patients.
Anesthetized women are the perfect subjects, doctors said, because they are relaxed and unable to feel the sometimes painful mistakes of novice examiners.
Consent is still far from a universal practice.
At the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, patients are told that students will be part of their care team, but aren't specifically told the treatment could include a pelvic exam for educational purposes.
There are similar policies at the University of Pennsylvania and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
"I don't think any of us even think about it. It's just so standard as to how you train medical students," said Dr. Jessica Bienstock, residency program director at Johns Hopkins.
The good news...students are speaking up.
Changes in that practice have taken place over the past five years after complaints from students who felt the exams without consent were unethical.
"My problem was that if they found out about it, they might be really upset, and it was really only being done for my benefit," said Dr. Ari Silver-Isenstadt, who refused to examine anesthetized women as a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
"I felt like I would be violating their trust," he said.
Ummm HECK YEAH it violates my trust when you go sticking your hands in my va-jay-jay while I'm unconscious.
The part that terrifies me is that the mom I mentioned earlier was 5 months pregnant. 10 students poking around in there? Can you even imagine what would have happened if one of them had accidentally damaged her cervix, or worse yet, broken her water?
I'm just steamed over this.
Labels: In the News