Is it right to sexually assist a paralysed patient? - page 6

How do you deal with the paralysed patient with frequent erections? Have you ever been asked to assist? I've never faced this but have seen a heated discussion on another forum. Is it humane to bring... Read More

  1. by   canoehead
    I would not assist anyone because of the trust my employer has in me to remain within behavior guidelines that have been set by the hospital.

    I DO see the connection that another poster brought up, between sexual requests and prayer, because I have been on the receiving end of both from decent likeable patients. My discomfort was not with the patient, but because I had been asked to do something that my heart was not in, and how could I explain my values to the patient without offending them? The difference being it was harder to say no to the requests for prayer because in this society the majority are Christian, and sometimes I feel judged if I admit I don't share someone's beliefs. It is much easier to say no to a sexual request, again, because of our current culture that those acts should only occur between committed partners.

    I know most replies to my post will be in disagreement, but please, lets continue to debate this civilly, so we can understand each other's viewpoint.
  2. by   unikuelady
    I would not assist a pt in having an orgasm. Just remember that the human body is capable of relieving itself. i.e. when the fluids build up enough......Wet Dreams happen. It may not happen exactly when the patient wants it to, but it will eventually.
  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from unikuelady
    I would not assist a pt in having an orgasm. Just remember that the human body is capable of relieving itself. i.e. when the fluids build up enough......Wet Dreams happen. It may not happen exactly when the patient wants it to, but it will eventually.
    Well put.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    When I read the OP, I couldn't believe what I was reading, and even now I'm shaking my head in disbelief. I used to manage a young-adult care unit where most of our residents were brain- and spinal-cord-injured patients, and this never, EVER got farther than the occasional CNA who was propositioned by one of our younger male residents, who often claimed to need help relieving his, um, frustrations. I can't imagine any nurse with half the sense God gave a goat thinking it's OK to do this. 'Nuff said. :stone
  5. by   Roland
    I believe that such sexual relief could be beneficial to certain patients. Indeed, such things are actually considered valid medical interventions in certain European nations in certain very specific situations. However, I don't think it is appropriate for NURSES. Instead, there are other professionals such as sexual surrogates (sometimes employed by certain relationship counselors), and even prostitutes who could provide these services (consider that prostitution is legal within certain parameters in MUCH of the world including Canada, Australia, France, the UK and Nevada). Consider also that there is abundant research to indicate that frequent sex has a variety of healthy physiological ramifications (although it is not clear that this originates from the sex rather than the relationships which usually correlate with sex). I am surprised that so many are offended at the very concept of patients needing sexual gratification (although I do not believe it to be appropriate for nurses and doctors to provide such gratification as they are not trained to do so, and it would violate professional patient client relationship standards). As a conservative, pro-life, Republican I am not offended at this concept. Furthermore, I would have no problem with my WIFE providing such services to approriate, individuals with a valid medical need (albeit not in her role as a NURSE). Actually, she described an incident last week where a patient with a head injury "pleasured" himself during a bed bath last week (she left the room for fifteen minutes while he took care of business). This DID offend me because the patient clearly knew what he was doing, and did not have the sort of medical situation described above (she said that he had absolutely NO obvious mental deficits, and had groped her on several occasions that day). However, her nursing instructor advised her that the patient was within his rights (with regard to the self pleasure not the groping), and that she did the appropriate thing by providing privacy.
    Last edit by Roland on Apr 6, '04
  6. by   jaimealmostRN
    Yuck, if I wanted to be a prostitute I could have spent a lot less $$$ on education. Besides, the erection could be accidental and then your "good intentions" would be considered assault or rape. Imagine: Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Orgasm! I think these fetish nurse themed porns are getting out of hand. :angryfire
  7. by   Roland
    I actually dated a girl who financed her way through medical school via dancing and occasional prostitution (after we broke up). I must confess that I suggested this as an option for her, but was only KIDDING! She said that there were very few jobs where she could devote eight hours per week and earn 50K plus a year while in school (she even pointed out that since this was tax free money that it was LIKE earning 75K at a regular job). In addition, she indicated that it was one of the few jobs that allowed her to have ample time to study. However, many whom I have told this story to have pointed out that it couldn't have been worth her LOSS of dignity. Today, she is a neurosurgeon resident (with NO debt and she just gave 50K to a local homeless shelter which allowed them to offer four additional family shelters), and I'm just a BSN nursing student so maybe it wasn't such a bad move. Furthermore, when I'm working PT as a CNA/student nurse caring for 18 plus patients (and changing what feels like an assembly line of BM soiled Depends and colostomy bags) I really wonder about that whole dignity thing! Frankly folks, given a choice between sexual degredation, and numerous colostomy bag cleanings (six last shift) it would really take me a few minutes to decide! Unfortunately, in my case unlike hers, I'm worth more changing the Depends, and cleaning the bags.
    Last edit by Roland on Apr 6, '04
  8. by   PedsNurse1981
    Quote from RN-Josey
    Whether or not a nurse would choose to relieve a patient if faced with this situation is something for the nurse to decide at that moment, keeping in mind that there definitely could be legal and job repercussions if some kind of prior approval was not obtained.

    I want to comment, though, more on the hypocrisy I hear stated throughout this thread. Several nurses have stated that this is an inappropriate question because either it's not something we are trained to do or because it is not a vital life or death function. And the tone used by these nurses is very sanctimonious and puritanical when making these arguments. I would ask these very same nurses, however, if they have ever prayed with a patient at the patient's request, or if they had encouraged prayer from a patient who hadn't brought the subject up themself. Prayer is neither something we are trained to do in nursing school nor is it a "vital" life or death function. Yet I will bet money that many, if not most, of the nurses who practically condemned the original poster for even asking the question would not think twice about praying with a patient, and probably have done so many times in the past. Thus their arguments about only doing what is medically necessary don't hold water, and in fact reveal them as hypocrites who object purely on their own moral grounds, not for any medical or professional reason.

    And just for the record, I am not opposed to a nurse praying with their patient if that helps comfort the patient. I also don't see a problem with a nurse objecting to masturbating a paralyzed patient on moral grounds (or objecting to prayer for the same reason). However, be honest in stating the reasons why you approve or disapprove, and don't act judgemental to those who hold a different moral viewpoint than your own.
    True, prayer isn't something that we are trained in while in nursing school. However, I wouldn't equate it with helping a patient masturbate who is unable to take care of these things himself. I personally wouldn't do it because I believe that as previously mentioned, it is not in my job description, and more than that, that is an act that I am simply not willing to assist my patients with. Someone stated previously that sex is as vital in life as food and water. WHATEVER! You're not going to die if you aren't sexually gratified. What about the few people my age out there who have decided to wait until marriage to have sexual intercourse...we're not dying! I think it's 100% of society's brainwashing that has turned the US into a sex driven country. Any patient of mine can certainly wait until they either are able to do it themselves or until they find a significant other to fulfill that so called vital part of life.
  9. by   zacarias
    Quote from DavidFR
    How do you deal with the paralysed patient with frequent erections? Have you ever been asked to assist? Is it actually having sex with the patient? Is it permitted where you are? Could you do it?

    No I would not. It would take too much time. Get a volunteer to do it.
  10. by   PedsNurse1981
    Quote from zacarias
    No I would not. It would take too much time. Get a volunteer to do it.
    I can just picture a volunteer coming to the floor asking if anyone needed any "help". LOL
  11. by   Roland
    Well I don't think you would have any trouble finding male volunteers to help female patients. However, the opposite situation would probably be quite rare. There are two constants in the Universe, the speed of light and the piggish nature of men (actually I'm not certain about the speed of light given certain recent experiments that seem to indicate that it can be altered under certain conditions).
  12. by   z's playa
    Quote from Roland
    I actually dated a girl who financed her way through medical school via dancing and occasional prostitution (after we broke up). I must confess that I suggested this as an option for her, but was only KIDDING! She said that there were very few jobs where she could devote eight hours per week and earn 50K plus a year while in school (she even pointed out that since this was tax free money that it was LIKE earning 75K at a regular job). In addition, she indicated that it was one of the few jobs that allowed her to have ample time to study. However, many whom I have told this story to have pointed out that it couldn't have been worth her LOSS of dignity. Today, she is a neurosurgeon resident (with NO debt and she just gave 50K to a local homeless shelter which allowed them to offer four additional family shelters), and I'm just a BSN nursing student so maybe it wasn't such a bad move. Furthermore, when I'm working PT as a CNA/student nurse caring for 18 plus patients (and changing what feels like an assembly line of BM soiled Depends and colostomy bags) I really wonder about that whole dignity thing! Frankly folks, given a choice between sexual degredation, and numerous colostomy bag cleanings (six last shift) it would really take me a few minutes to decide! Unfortunately, in my case unlike hers, I'm worth more changing the Depends, and cleaning the bags.
    How do you know she lost her dignity? I'd be so freaking proud of myself. Whatever she "lost" I'm sure shes making up for by saving lives. This is not a flame, I'm just baffled at how those people you told, judged her and assumed she lost something. In my eyes shes gained much and obviously feels shes worth a great deal.
  13. by   BBFRN
    Regarding the comparison between praying with a patient and helping them relieve themselves sexually- I don't see how the 2 compare. When a patient decides to pray, they are using an effective coping skill to deal with their situation. When a patient freaks out over an unrelieved erection like the burn patient mentioned, aren't they showing a definite lack of coping skills? Why the nurse in the book would choose to relieve the patient's erection instead of helping the patient choose effective coping mechanisms is beyond me. That is within our job description, and that would seem more of a priority in patient care.

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