Covert Pelvic Exams??!

  1. I can't find a link to the story, but read in my local paper today that some medical schools have decided to stop allowing 2 to 4 medical students do pelvic exams on female patients who are anesthetized, but prior to Gyn surgery. Apparently, some of the students complained that they felt it was unethical to do these exams without the consent of the patient.

    I just have one question. Why did these schools need MEDICAL STUDENTS to point out that procedures performed on anesthetized patients without prior consent might be illegal??

    Kevin McHugh
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  2. 60 Comments

  3. by   PowerPuffGirl
    I remember first learning about this practice in a book called _A Woman in Residence_ by Michelle Harrison, MD. (fascinating book, btw). She mentions an incident where a patient had specifically said, pre-surgery, she only wanted her own doctor to examine her. Once she was under anesthesia, one of the medical students refused to conduct an EUA, and spoke up for the patient's rights, and if I recall, the student got disciplined.

    I remember being creeped out by it (I first read this book when I was about 14!), and being horrified by the lack of respect accorded to some of these patients.

    On that note, I also remember reading in a magazine that some medical schools recruit women to be 'pelvic models', for students to learn pelvic exams on. I think the women were paid $25-50 for their time.
  4. by   Katnip
    I saw the article kmchugh is talking about. It just amazes me that this has been going on, and rarely has anyone spoken out against it.
  5. by   baseline

    Sigh. Unfortunately I am not surprised.
  6. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Ewwww.... scary stuff.

    Reason #48 to never be anesthetized.
  7. by   Katnip
    Not to mention a good reason to be wary of teaching hospitals.
  8. by   Darlene K.
    You got it right cyberkat!
  9. by   sjoe
    "Why did these schools need MEDICAL STUDENTS to point out that procedures performed on anesthetized patients without prior consent might be illegal?"

    According to the article, in the fine print of the document the patients signed authorizing surgery, these pelvic exams were also authorized, though it was not clearly specified that they would be performed by multiple students for learning purposes.

    Here's the link, since the CNN article is copyrighted:
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/03/11....ap/index.html

    READ IT before you sign it, if you have any questions--always a good idea.

    cyberkat writes: "Not to mention a good reason to be wary of teaching hospitals."

    I completely disagree with you. My experience working in a teaching hospital was that the patients got state-of-the-art treatment, closely supervised by some of the best docs in their fields.
    Last edit by sjoe on Mar 13, '03
  10. by   emily_mom
    EEK...reason #3 for cancelling my gyno appt this morning....
  11. by   Katnip
    sjoe, I said wary. I don't mean avoiding teaching hospitals entirely. I'm a student at a teaching hospitals. And yes, abuses do go on. Most teaching docs are amazingly good at supervising their student. Not all. It behooves every patient to make sure what they're getting ahead of time.
  12. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by emily_mom
    EEK...reason #3 for cancelling my gyno appt this morning....
    What were #1 & #2? :chuckle
  13. by   Mattigan
    When I was in school I saw ads from the Uni med school advertising for students to earn $$ for letting med students do vag exams. I think it was $25/exam. Don't know anyone who actually did it.

    I did handle physician pagers during conferences in the lobby though. One time there were about 50 of them and it was so screwed up ... we looked loke Lucy and Ethel at the candy factory. A vag exam would have been easier.
  14. by   emily_mom
    #1- that "not so fresh" feeling hit me today
    #2- didn't feel like sloshing around w/ lube in my drawers all day

    JUST KIDDING!!!

    wanted to watch the girls state basketball game on TV (GO CARDS!!! WOOT!)
    pure and utter laziness of spring break...

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