Wiseacre (ewin) wrote,

  • Mood:

Unnecessary pelvic exams

I have posted this to Twitter and Facebook, and here I'm posting it again.

Because this particular problem has a particular set of traits that make it ideal for being spread via the internet:
  • It is outrageous
  • It is ubiquitous
  • It is largely unknown
  • It can actually be solved via public opinion and subsequent public outrage

That last is the clincher.  TELL.  EVERYONE.  RIGHT.  NOW.

Here is the article detailing the practice of performing pelvic exams, without consent, upon anesthetized female patients.  Warning, the article may be triggery.

The basics, all of which can be found in the article:
  • If you are put under for any reason in the OB/GYN wing of a teaching hospital, you WILL have students practicing pelvic exams on you
  • These exams are performed without diagnostic benefit to the patient
  • These exams are performed with barely any educational benefit to the student (this is explained in the article)
  • This is happening almost everywhere, all the time, it's been going on for years
  • Medical ethics committees have criticized the practice, with no resulting change
  • Your doctor will lie to you about it, and the best way suggested in the article to deny consent to this procedure is to write on your body in marker that you do not consent to have students perform a pelvic exam on you
  • The only way to change this is to make it common knowledge

This was one of those articles that I started reading with a slow dawning of horror... I started out thinking, "Well, it's natural that all sorts of indignities would be visited on your body when you're anesthetized," and for the record, I'm someone who would willingly let students practice on my body with my consent.

But the more I read, the clearer the situation became.  This is a useless, out of control, repugnant, insulting practice.  I think the uselessness of it offends me more than anything else.  I could almost justify a morally repugnant medical practice that saves lives (it's probably fortunate that I'm not in charge).  But this is simply and plainly ridiculous, it's stupidity and insularity on a massive, ingrown scale.

And guess what?  We can STOP it.

So help stop it.  Repost, retweet, do whatever-the-fuck you do, but do it.
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