Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Are all women who are put under general anesthesia in a hospital practiced on by students while unconscious?

Posted by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:36 PM
  • 36 Replies

Excerpt from:
http://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2010/8/30/medical-student-wont-perform-pelvic-exams-on-anesthetized-pa.html


Are all women who are put under general anesthesia in a hospital practiced on by students while unconscious?

All women in the OB/GYN department at most teaching hospitals and hospitals affiliated with a medical school are. If you’re anesthetized and you’re in the OB/GYN department, you probably have had students practice pelvic exams on you regardless of what you’re in the hospital for - even if the procedure you need doesn’t require a pelvic exam!

Additionally, while doctors don’t go to other departments — such as general surgery patients, neurosurgery patients or cardiac surgery patients — if your surgeon is an OB/GYN, odds are there’s going to be a team of hungry medical students waiting for you to fall asleep.

 

When you say a team, how many people do you mean?

That depends. There’s the attending, a few residents, an intern and then as many medical students as they can round up.

However, I’m less concerned about interns and residents. They are doctors that have a role in that patient’s care, so doing a pelvic exam might be useful for them. But for medical students, no one even pretends it’s about the patient. Patients are strictly tools for our education. There’s no thought that there’s any benefit to the individual patient when medical students are just lining up in there.

 

When you were a medical student, did all your classmates perform non-consensual pelvic exams on women?

Yes, particularly the male students practiced pelvic exams on anesthetized women. As of last year, which was the last time I checked, they still do.

 

Why are male students more likely to perform non-consensual pelvic exams?

The medical community assumes that women will be less likely to allow male students practice on them if asked. So the male students are quicker to jump at the opportunity to practice on women who are unconscious.

 

Are there ways for student to learn how to perform pelvic exams other than on non-consenting women?

Yes, there’s a surrogate program that pays volunteers. If you contact a chairperson at an OB/GYN department or medical school they will tell you all about the surrogate program if they have one. What they won’t tell you is that in addition to the surrogate program they still carry out this practice. At [omitted], second year students practiced on a surrogate. That’s how I learned how to do it. But then in my third year on my OB/GYN rotation I performed pelvic exams on unconscious patients. Women would come in for appendicitis or something. Then, once they’re asleep, the crowd gathers, line forms to the left.

 

If teaching hospitals and medical schools have surrogates offering to consent to pelvic exams, why perform non-consensual ones?

Money. It’s expensive. And takes time while waiting for someone to volunteer. At least that’s what medical schools will say.

 

Can you explain what happens during these non-consensual pelvic exams?

They are usually “bi-digital” exams. This means students insert two fingers as deeply as they can into the vagina with one hand and use the other hand to feel around the outside of the abdomen for the ovaries. What they’re trying to do is trap the ovaries between their two fingers and their hand and feel for the internal organs from the inside. Sometimes, speculums are also used in the exams.

 

And what does this teach the student?

Very little in terms of how to do a proper pelvic exam. The art of doing a pelvic exam is how to do it while making the woman feel comfortable. When a patient is unconscious, obviously she can’t tell you what’s uncomfortable, what you’re doing right or wrong, what hurts. And, it feels completely different because the musculature is completely relaxed because of the anesthesia. So it doesn’t feel the same when you do a pelvic exam on a woman who is awake.

 read more here

Thoughts?


by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:36 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Gabeys_Mommy
by Member on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:40 PM
Disgusting. I'd sue, that's pretty much sexual assault.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
SusanD
by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:49 PM

LOL...I'm sorry, I don't believe that this happens the way that this excerpt would lead you to believe. For starters, I would say that 1. it may have happened but is wrong and the schools of these students would have major issues with it as well as the hospital in question. I would venture to say that IF it happened at all it was isolated incident(s) and very few 2. doesn't happen all the time, or even somewhat frequently as this article may have portrayed. 3. I would also guess that this person consented to having students participate in their care in their informed medical consets.

LancesMom
by Gold Member on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:56 PM


Quoting SusanD:

LOL...I'm sorry, I don't believe that this happens the way that this excerpt would lead you to believe. For starters, I would say that 1. it may have happened but is wrong and the schools of these students would have major issues with it as well as the hospital in question. I would venture to say that IF it happened at all it was isolated incident(s) and very few 2. doesn't happen all the time, or even somewhat frequently as this article may have portrayed. 3. I would also guess that this person consented to having students participate in their care in their informed medical consets.

This was also on this site:

Yes, It’s True: Med Students Perform Pelvic Exams on Anesthetized Women

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:58 PM

 I spoke with a Dr. friend today and she said it was true. If you are at a teaching hospital they can do it.  Somewhere in the consent forms you sign you give them consent for "procedures" and such.

 This really makes me ill.

erin7420
by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:59 PM

 If you are a patient in a teaching hospital, you are giving consent for students to be present and accounted for, so to speak. Private hospitals are different, they have to ask you first and you have to consent to it. It kind of speaks for itself Teaching Hospital.

I think the person who wrote this has a pretty flippant attitude about the whole thing. They are making it sound like they are just salivating, waiting for someone to be put under.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:03 PM

 

Quoting erin7420:

 If you are a patient in a teaching hospital, you are giving consent for students to be present and accounted for, so to speak. Private hospitals are different, they have to ask you first and you have to consent to it. It kind of speaks for itself Teaching Hospital.

I think the person who wrote this has a pretty flippant attitude about the whole thing. They are making it sound like they are just salivating, waiting for someone to be put under.

    Regardless of whether they are salivating or not, if some stranger is going to put their hand into my vagina and squeeze on my ovaries, I believe "true informed consent" is the ONLY ethical way this should happen.  It is a gross violation of a persons body to have a med student practice a procedure that has Nothing to do with why you are even there. 

   

    Our family will walk for Answers for Autism on September 18th.  This is a yearly event very near and dear to our hearts.  If you would like to support our team via donation please click link and donate to Inspirational Journey(team) under Ryer S.  Thank you


    Different, but not less~Temple Grandin

 
SusanD
by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:04 PM

Did you notice that the studies, etc. in your second article date from 1992 until 2003 and discussed legislation for the year 2003/2004? Maybe I missed it, but there is nothing in this article that I have seen that is less than 7 years old. Also, its from the same site.......

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:11 PM

 

Quoting SusanD:

Did you notice that the studies, etc. in your second article date from 1992 until 2003 and discussed legislation for the year 2003/2004? Maybe I missed it, but there is nothing in this article that I have seen that is less than 7 years old. Also, its from the same site.......

    I believe this practice has been ban in California.  Not sure about other states.  It seems extremely unethical to me.

    Our family will walk for Answers for Autism on September 18th.  This is a yearly event very near and dear to our hearts.  If you would like to support our team via donation please click link and donate to Inspirational Journey(team) under Ryer S.  Thank you


    Different, but not less~Temple Grandin

 
SusanD
by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:15 PM

 A lot of things in the medical world change drastically from year to year. I refuse to use information gathered 7+ years ago to make an opinion about something like this.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 

Quoting SusanD:

Did you notice that the studies, etc. in your second article date from 1992 until 2003 and discussed legislation for the year 2003/2004? Maybe I missed it, but there is nothing in this article that I have seen that is less than 7 years old. Also, its from the same site.......

    I believe this practice has been ban in California.  Not sure about other states.  It seems extremely unethical to me.

 

LancesMom
by Gold Member on Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:19 PM


Quoting SusanD:

Did you notice that the studies, etc. in your second article date from 1992 until 2003 and discussed legislation for the year 2003/2004? Maybe I missed it, but there is nothing in this article that I have seen that is less than 7 years old. Also, its from the same site.......

I just posted the second article so you could see that it was really happening. The first article is dated for August 30th, 2010, so I presume it is still happening places. And wanted to bring it to everyones attention.

I agree with Truth Seeker. They should be letting people know that they will be doing these types exams. And not letting it fall under a broad consent form!

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)