WhiteCoat

Sexual Assault in the ED

This story concerns me.

On one hand, there is an emergency physician who, by some accounts, had a “sex addiction” and was accused of drugging intoxicated females and then groping their breasts.

On the other hand, the females were so “incapacitated” that they were “unable to resist” or presumably to even yell for help when the physician was doing these things.

I don’t know all the facts, so I can’t comment upon the merits of the case or upon the jury’s verdict.

From a patient’s perspective, it is pathetic to think that a physician would even consider doing things like this.

From a physician’s perspective, it is scary that the accusations by patients rendered “incapacitated” by alcohol or medications could cause you to be investigated by the state, get dragged through a trial, and possibly be thrown in prison for 10 years. This whole propofol side effect issue hits closer to home, now.

I have been involved in one investigation where a physician was accused of physically assaulting a patient by pushing her to the ground. The patient was upset that she didn’t get the medications she wanted and she and her husband filed a formal complaint against the physician the day after her emergency department visit. Fortunately, in that case, the patient was already being verbally abusive to the emergency department staff and security was called. Security witnessed the entire “event” from behind the curtain in the room while the door was open and confirmed that the patient was upset about not receiving medications and that the patient was never pushed to the ground.

Another physician with whom I worked was accused of fondling the breasts of women because he lifted their left breasts up to listen to their hearts.

In another incident, I was accused of raping a patient.

An elderly patient fell down a flight of stairs and was complaining of hip pain. I examined her entire body to look for other injuries. I routinely palpate the entire body, including the head, neck, ribs, back, stomach, pelvis, arms, and legs. The woman called administration several months later to complain that I had “raped” her. I had no idea who she even was by that time.

When I heard about the patient’s allegations, I made a copy of her chart, went straight to the police station after work, and reported what the patient had stated. One of the investigators immediately went to the patient’s house and took a statement from her. Her only accusation was that I “squeezed her hips” – which I routinely do during my exam to assess for a pelvic fracture. After talking with the investigator, the patient declined to file a complaint.

So what do you do?
Examine only the portions of a patient where the patient has pain and risk missing an injury? Or fully examine the patient and risk being accused of sexual assault and a jail sentence?
Do we start videotaping all patient encounters to maintain evidence that we didn’t do something inappropriate?
Do we have a nurse follow us into all the rooms as witnesses and take them out of their patient care roles?

And what should happen to people who file false reports?

Scary times for all involved.

44 Responses to “Sexual Assault in the ED”

  1. “When I heard about the patient’s allegations, I made a copy of her chart, went straight to the police station after work, and reported what the patient had stated.”

    I’m impressed by your quick response. You didn’t wait around for a crisis to develop. However had I been in your shoes I would had been scared to death about violating HIPAA while trying to immediately defend myself.

    I’m not currently a health care professional, but I do plan to be a paramedic. My personal game plan will be to inform my patients about exactly what I have to do and why, make sure I have consent, do the skill correctly, and document carefully. I really like the post “Exposing Patients: Balancing Necessity and Dignity” at Paramedicine 101 http://paramedicine101.blogspot.com/2009/06/exposing-patients-balancing-necessity.html

  2. Maybe we could create a new position in health care…the “professional witness”. They can do a class at night school or something, sign a vow of confidentiality and then follow docs everywhere they go and observe every time you touch a patient below the clavicle.

    Wait, maybe they should be present for eye exams as well, in case you are staring inappropriately at someones retinas…

  3. KT says:

    “Another physician with whom I worked was accused of fondling the breasts of women because he lifted their left breasts up to listen to their hearts.”

    This happened to a fellow final-year medical student. He’s not the best at explaining what he doing when he’s examining patients, and unfortunately he’s also just one of those creepy, skeevy guys, you know? It wouldn’t have been an issue with many other male doctors or students. Medically, he was doing the right thing, but the patient submitted a formal complaint. From now on he always asks for a chaperone whenever performing any examinations on women.

  4. eyedoc says:

    WC-.

    I am an ophthalmologist. People always have their clothes on. I touch their eyelid, forehead and rarely palpate something in the head/neck area. I have a scribe with me 90%+ of the time, and it is very rare indeed I will set foot into a female patients’ room without a staff member. I will probably be sued for something (again), but hopefully it won’t be for something likle this.

  5. DefendUSA says:

    Hmmm. That is a hard call. The comments on the article stop me in my tracks. If those people are telling the truth, they should go to the appropriate people.

    If drugs are incapacitating patients, maybe RN assisting is necessary. I don’t go to the Ob-gyn and get a pelvic unless there is a second person present. I thought that was SOP.

    Shame on the women if they are lying because the physician does not do what they believe is warranted.
    Rock, hard place for sure.

  6. Fyrdoc says:

    I know of a doctor who performed an appropriate pelvic and rectal exam with a female nurse present on a patient who had abdomino-pelvic pain. The patient then went to the police and attempted to have the physician charged with sexual assault. No drugs or incapacitation involved and chaperone present. Case went nowhere other than the physician having to spend an hour (after being read his rights) speaking with a detective.

    How is it we are supposed to see our patients as anything but potential adversaries?

  7. ERP says:

    I have a friend who was accused of sexual assault by doing a rectal exam on a female patient. He was a medical student and was very busy so he could not wait around for a female chaperon to be found. Luckily she dropped the complaint.
    I find it SUPREMELY annoying to have to fine someone (who is inevitably busy with something else) to come in with me for a female rectal, pelvic, or breast exam. It slows me down significantly in this era where we are expected to be banging out (no pun intended!) 2-2.5 patients per hour.

  8. Gebe says:

    As a Peds ER doc, I’m often under the mistaken impression that I am immune to such lunacy. However, I recently had a patient interaction that could easily have resulted in a sexual assault charge.

    A Muslim (this is relavant) father of a 5mo girl brought her into my ER for a fever of 103 without source. Kiddo looked well otherwise and without any URI complaints. Obviously, she was going to need a quick blood test (no objections) and a urinalysis and culture. Obviously, a 5mo old cannot pee on command. And as talented as the ER nurses and techs are in my dept, a clean catch midstream urine was going to be almost impossible to get. So I started talking about a cath specimen. Father went BALLISTIC. He kept yelling that we could not “violate” his daughter and that she must be “pure” and “a virgin” (his words) for her wedding. He told me “We are Muslim and she cannot be touched there!”. I even went so far as to draw an anatomic sketch of the female anatomy, demonstrating the difference between the “ok” urethra and the “no-touchy” vagina. No go. He finally consented to a bagged specimen (which, of course, she peed around).

    Otherwise, he was quite reasonable and liked me (and considering that I’m basically Madalyn Murray O’Hare’s younger, sexier sister, this is quite a shock). I never could convince him that a cath’d specimen would not violate his daughter and that she would still be pure and virginal when she left the ER (though I can’t vouch for said purity by the time the wedding rolled around). We ended up agreeing that he would see his PCP the next day (her WBC was fine, fever responded to Tylenol, she looked good otherwise). And I documented EVERYTHING.

    • MikeMD says:

      I’m peds ED as well, and have run into this scenario several times, though the parents aren’t always Muslim. I make them sign a waiver saying they understand they are refusing a recommended test. My partner just types out bold, large print “I understand my child could die by refusing this test” and makes them sign it.

      As an aside, we have a big child abuse center here. The forensic docs video tape all their exams with a forensic nurse present. They say it serves several purposes. Legally it’s protective, and they also note that it avoids subjecting the patient several exams because they can just look at the video record. I’ve been to a number of child abuse conferences, and this seems to be what everyone is doing. Different context though, I know.

  9. Doc99 says:

    I never see a patient without a chaperone.

  10. SeaSpray says:

    “And what should happen to people who file false reports?”

    ***PUNISH*** them!

    Unless the person has dementia or some other valid reason for an altered mental status..they should be charged for a crime. They should be fined. Their name should be plastered all over the front pages to show them for the low life they are… because the Doctor’s name would certainly be plastered all over the front pages and sensationalized.

    The medical people accused should be able to counter sue for any damages done even if exonerated. It is never alright to falsely accuse another human being for anything..NEVER!

    Example should be made so other people think twice about falsely accusing someone, causing them all the stress and damage that can follow.
    And God forbid they win and the med professional’s career is destroyed.

    Egregious, calculating behavior like that should be dealt with strongly and swiftly. I know ..swiftly and justice system ..oxymoron.

    I am so tired of hearing about all these false/trumped up charges/lawsuits in which the the sleezy accusers get away with things and the good people suffer. Maybe I am wrong in this assertion ..but it is how I feel.

    An exception would be if there was a gross misunderstanding/miscommunication for some reason.

  11. Ella says:

    This scares the heck out of me. Although I’m now in medical school, I used to be a high school teacher. I was once falsely accused of being physically abusive to a student (who I of course NEVER touched)… and it was the scariest most frustrating feeling I have ever experienced. I can only imagine how it would feel with my medical license at stake.

  12. hannah says:

    Teachers have this problem all the time. I know plenty of teachers (K-12) who simply refuse to be alone in a room with a student. Ever. Certainly no touching. The problem is that doctors NEED to touch their patients. And in a busy ER setting, there may not be anyone to act as a chaperone. (Which would obviously be the ideal situation.)

    Anyway. My funny story — I’m a nursing student, and they had us basically practicing our assessment skills on nursing home patients. I’m coming at this poor woman…and I realize that it looks like I want to grope her boobies. I felt so awkward and skeevy.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      “I felt so awkward and skeevy.”

      What? Were you panting and drooling with your tongue hanging out the side of your mouth?

  13. SeaSpray says:

    ALWAYS examine everything that protocol in the situation calls for. You can never risk missing something.. not for the patient’s sake.. nor yours. I would think that you’d be protected by the normal expectations for such an exam. If there is a vaginal laceration..you will be examining the vagina..and so on.

    Speaking as a patient who has had frequent visitors down to Bajingoland (South of the border/netherland area),due to the nature of the urological condition ..as well as the routine paps we women have done and obstetrics .. I would *loathe* the idea of being filmed on top of that. If that ever happens ..I don’t want to know or better yet I’ll go where it’s not being done!

    It is hard enough knowing you have to go in for that kind of exam..knowing you have to get nekkid somewhere on your body .. that other people are now seeing you too. Yes ..it’s their job and they do it all day and it has to be done..but it’s *your* body… and *your* feelings.

    I think the patient has to be considered..they have privacy rights … they are already in a compromising situation by the very nature of why they are there. *The patient is vulnerable too.* And they should be protected, made to feel as comfortable as possible in an already uncomfortable situation and being videotaped would completely undermine that effort. I would hate thinking I was on tape..who sees it? How is it erased? Is it erased? UGH! And I would never be completely comfortable or open if I had to discuss the most personal things. Videotaping would be an extreme violation of a patient’s privacy in a personal exam… imo.

    I have never cared for having nurses in the room. Nothing against nurses at all ..I just trust my doctors and it’s one less person to be seen by. I also would never ask anything personal with the nurse in the room. Confidentiality is huge with me. But doctors always allow for that by either talking before or after the exam and so that isn’t a problem. but if a question/concern popped in my head during the exam..i wouldn’t ask with someone else there.

    My OB/GYN’s always ask if I want a nurse in the room and I always say no. They do the exam alone with me in the room. I’ve wondered if they have someone listening over a monitor or are they using a recorder in their pocket? I know docs can legally tape a patient without telling them so long as it’s a two way dialog… and they do at times.

    I just figured that I’ve gone to these docs for twenty 23 years and there is a mutual trust.

    The doctors at the urology office I go to always have a nurse or M/A in the room. At first I didn’t like it because I didn’t know anyone, but I was such a frequent flier at one point between hospital and office… that I became somewhat desensitized about getting undressed in the southern regions and my body went on autopilot and just got into position without much thought. The docs and staff are so terrific at putting me at ease, being respectful and pleasant that they made an uncomfortable situation comfortable and I greatly appreciate that. If the staff was cold though ..it would be torture… but they are warm and reassuring, etc.

    I never had a doctor lift my left breast to listen to my heart. ? Why do that?

    A few years ago. One of my doctors was listening to my back and chest, was standing behind me and without telling me or asking me …completely unhooked my bra in the back, proceeded to listen to my back as I breathed big breaths and then came in close behind me as he reached around and listened to my chest. Then he hooked my bra back up again. Neither of us said anything and I was definitely surprised because no one had ever done that before.

    But then this doctor was very thorough, detailed ..*wanted* to know *everything*,gave very thorough exams and discussions and he was quirky too. I guess I could’ve asked about it but also figured maybe the bra was too tight and hindered the exam in some way because he was such a particular doctor and wanted optimum listening capability.

    • Katy says:

      There’s a pattern you follow to listen to the heart, (being a very bad nursing student on holidays I can’t remember it =S) but one of the intercostal spaces sometimes falls “underneath” a breast, particularly if gravity has taken full effect, to put it politely. So yeah, occasionally you’ll have to lift a breast to hear the heart, but it just depends on the person.

    • Gebe says:

      For some women with larger, pendulous breasts or post-menopausal breasts, the apex of the heart can be covered, especially if the patient is lying flat on her back.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      I just looked up the reference to the bajingo mouse on my old blog and found that it was one of the first posts that got me hooked on ERP’s site.
      By the way, SeaSpray, you know that your blog is still #1 on Google searches for “bajingoland”?

      • SeaSpray says:

        Hi All – I missed the replies here. Thank you for explaining the breast part. Interesting.

        “pendulous breasts or post-menopausal breasts” ..words not in my vocabulary. ;)

        Why unhook the bra though?

        WC – Ha ha! Yeah ..I think I have a corner on that… considering no one else uses the word. :)

        Oh and what is that dossier link on me? That’s weird… and a little unnerving at 1st. Funny ..I clicked on one Bajingoland link and it was for shoes and the message in the show site is “We can find any Bajingoland products at this time. Please try refining your search” LOL!! :)

        I think you might be the next one in line for use of the word ..then Scalpel. Where is he anyway?? Come out ..come out where ever you arrrre ..Scalpel. ;) (I miss his posts!)

        ERP’s post on the biting mouse was HILARIOUS!! :)

  14. SeaSpray says:

    About teachers: Some years ago told me that as a teacher she’s not allowed to hug a student or touch them in any way.

    And when my younger son (now 21) was in Kindergarten and was unable to get his zipper back up after a trip to the bathroom. My son asked her for help because it was stuck. He said she wouldn’t do it and so I asked her about it.I don’t remember exactly what she said but the gist was because she couldn’t that they don’t touch students down there.

    It was just his pants! It wasn’t hard to pull up, but instead he had to spend the morning with his zipper down. I realize that at 6yrs old that isn’t a big deal..but it’s the principle of it all.

    When did this all get so backwards that we have to be in self defense mode all the time?

  15. Katherine says:

    My GP is a woman, never thought about taking another person along when I go for my smear test. She is pretty good, always tells me what she is doing and everything, so I know she’s not molesting me. I’f I felt something wasn’t right I’d find another doctor straight away. Doubt I’d sue unless the doctor just whipped off their own pants or something else really obviously wrong while I was in the room.

    I feel sorry for creepy doctors that don’t mean to be.

  16. Mama On A Budget says:

    Not saying that I feel it should be that way (or should be required), but I thought it was the rule/law that a nurse be present in the room if a male doctor would be examining a naked female patient? I know when I saw my (male) GI, he called in a (female) nurse to be present while checking for blood… um… where a GI patient might have blood =)

    I think exams need to be the full exam a doctor feels is necessary. I’d like to say that cameras may be the way to go, but then I worry about who has access to those films…

    If a report is purposely filed falsely (like “the doc pushed me down and didn’t give me my meds”), charges should be filed. If it’s the doctor-administered drugs that lead to false reports (like your propofol post), I don’t think charges are appropriate. All the in between… it’s a slippery slope. Did the old lady that accused you of rape understand what actually constitutes rape – or did she actually think she was raped? Someone comes in high as a kite by their own doing (legal/prescribed or illicit) and thinks they were assaulted… I don’t know.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      That’s the problem that many doctors deal with every day. We don’t know, either … and once you or a colleague get accused of something like this, it can change your outlook on how you evaluate and treat patients.

  17. Steve says:

    In the same vein as taping sensitive exams…does anyone ever think we may start videotaping refusals and AMAs? There has certainly been more than one lawsuit from someone who staunchly refused care and was competent to do so only to have the family sue after the fact. On one hand, you could have an accurate account of what happened, but I guess on the other hand a lawyer could dissect every word and spin it another way…

    • WhiteCoat says:

      I think that we *should* videotape or at least audiotape potentially dangerous decisions that patients make. I’d rather have a lawyer trying to spin recorded words a certain way than have a lawyer insinuate that I never took the time to explain the complications to a patient or answer the patient’s questions.

      • eyedoc says:

        I know of a cataract surgeon who videotapes EVERY pre-op consent. Why: Was sued in the past. Case was dropped, but part of it came down to his word vs the patient regarding the consent. Now he has a videotape of the conversation. See WC nobody changes their practice based on a few silly lawsuits :).

  18. William the Coroner says:

    People lie. As a physician you must do the exam that you need to do for a diagnosis. You must always, always, always protect yourself from false allegations. Have a tape, have a witness, have a recorder, have a record. Yes, patient comfort and privacy is important. You also as a professional need to protect your license and livelihood.

    Now, the punishment for filing a false report of a crime, is minimal. It will take time and money to go civil, and you might not be able to get any compensation from the patient who lied. Best thing is to document the false allegation in the chart.

  19. maha says:

    There’s a lot of trust involved when seeing a doctor, especially for sensitive exams. I’m absolutely not encouraging false allegations but I’ve seen just a small breakdown in communication from the doctor resulting in a patient that becomes very uneasy.

    Case in point – I had a female patient who was to have a pelvic exam done, the staff doctor told her that he’d do it with a chaperone present but then at the last minute asked her if his medical student could watch. The patient was already very nervous about the pelvic exam, but reluctantly agreed. However, as soon as the medical student opened up the gyne tray, the patient burst into tears and I had to get both of them to leave and get a female doctor to do the exam. I could not imagine that patient consenting to being videotaped.

    Also, is it truly feasible for a doc to have a nurse witness every single exam? That would put a pretty severe strain on the nursing staff, especially when they’re short staffed and the department has a lot of patients.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      Patient consent to videotaping raises another whole issue.
      What if physicians refused to perform the exam without a videotape? Or what if patients had to sign a refusal to videotape. Then the signed refusal could be used later to question the patient’s motives as to why they didn’t want a videotape and then later accused a doctor of improprieties that could have been documented on the videotape the patient refused.
      It isn’t feasible for docs to have nurses present for every exam, but that is what our society has imposed upon us. Sometimes I have had female patients wait for more than an hour just so that a female nurse can get free to do a pelvic exam with me.

      • Fyrdoc says:

        I second that. When we did a sub-analysis on our patients who left AMA we found that they most often leave from our two “pelvic” rooms (rooms set up for pelvic exams) when we are busy. Why? Because none of our docs, male or female, will do an unescorted exam. If the rest of the department is swamped, they are going to wait a while until their nurse and the physician are at the same time (unless they are hemodynamically unstable of course).

      • Matt says:

        Physicians should welcome videotaping of procedures and exams. It would alleviate many of their complaints about subsequent review by medical boards and juries.

      • SeaSpray says:

        But Matt ..what about patient privacy?

  20. SeaSpray says:

    I seriously think it would be an AWFUL experience to have a gyne/uro/gastro exam on tape ..even breast. I am still upset a year later because I don’t know what happened to my medical records that Dr’s staff lost, sent out God knows where. I have all kinds of concern about where they ended up and it causes me to feel vulnerable/exposed and angry.

    That’s just paperwork ..although my *personal* info so I am concerned… but the idea your filmed during something so personal with your body. I have had some exams and procedures that caused a lot of pain and I’ve cried out or been instructed to breathe and it’s humiliating enough being a whimpette… but to then have the proof on tape? *No ..No way.* Not unless it was obvious your identity couldn’t be attached to the video… but then how do you know it couldn’t get in the wrong hands.

    I don’t know how men feel about personal exams .. but seriously ..could a woman possibly feel any more vulnerable and compromised than when in the stirrups? I trust the doctors, don’t need the nurse. It’s just private.

    I am guessing that it would be filmed from the back of the patient and so face, etc not exposed ..but it would feel like a loss of control of your most personal medical care and a most egregious invasion of privacy.

    My m-i-l and her sister were so shy that they NEVER had a gyne exam for their entire adult lives. Then she got breast cancer and survived. After that,her sister also got breast cancer, hoped the lump would go away. She died.

    I apologize for going on about this. I know physicians need to protect themselves, but not that way.

    How do other women feel about having their exam filmed?

    • Katherine says:

      No way. I’m just glad there are tons of female GPs in NZ.

      • Katherine says:

        GP stands for General Practitioner, they do most stuff that you’d need done on a regular basis (including smear tests). Dunno if the term occurs in the US because I mostly only see you all talking about going to see your gyno for smear tests.

  21. ERDoc says:

    I once had a patient accuse me of being inappropriate. It was a false charge and I cried like a baby when I got home that day. This patient did not even disrobe. She had a rash that covered most of her chest, abdomen, and back. I was still relatively inexperienced with rashes, and examined her at length. Nothing inappropriate intended, but somehow she thought I was being that way.
    Lesson learned: chaperone is sometimes necessary for patients of the opposite sex, even if they are NOT having a sensitive area examined. There is no excuse for EVER doing a rectal, pelvic, or breast exam unchaperoned. These exams can always wait a minute or two until you can track someone down.
    But now if there is a young female who needs an exam anywhere near these areas (ie, proximal thigh even if covered up/clothed) or if I get a weird vibe from them at all, I get a chaperone regardless…..

  22. SeaSpray says:

    ERDOC – “I cried like a baby when I got home that day”

    That is so sad and so wrong that you were brought to that. My heart went out to you when I read your words.

    I still stand by the need for patient privacy regarding video during an exam …but to be accused of a sexual crime when you are a decent human being and especially when you are dedicated in helping people ..even those awful lowlifes is just so very wrong.

    It’s one of the worst things a person could be accused of. And being a man … (which isn’t fair because a crime is a crime) it must be even worse because society will come down harder and had it been publicized ..there could always be an element of the population reading/hearing the news that don’t know you and thus will just assume you did it or vaguely remember “That doctor who did the crime”.

    I am sorry about the minefields providers have to walk through and settle in ..just to take care of a patient. It is sad ..that this can hinder in anyway the interactions between med providers and their patients… that fear or distrust could be in the mix.

    And I still stand by my opinion that any patient ..anyone …who would wrongfully accuse an innocent person should be severely punished. I’m not talking life imprisonment ..but something that would cause them to *regret* their actions and also be a deterrent for others that would attempt to do the same. And they should have to do community service.

    • William the coroner says:

      Seaspray-

      I understand your concerns. The physical exam is private, the genital exam even more so. I think there also is a cultural difference, men being naked in groups in the military, on sports teams, etc.

      It stands, though, that the punishment for a false allegation of abuse is minimal, the consequences of a false allegation for the doctor are extreme, the chance that the alligator will get away with it are high. If you do the risk-reward calculus, it makes sense for docs to tape pelvic exams.

      Now, to be perfectly blunt, if this keeps patients away from getting the exams, and they die because of it, that’s on them. Failure to tape/chaperone will cost the doctor big time. I would never, never, never see an undressed female patient without a witness.

      • Bill Alexander says:

        William, from your screen name I would think you never, never, never see a live female patient.

  23. SeaSpray says:

    Hi William – I don’t have a problem with witnesses at all and am totally on board with the necessity of that.

    I personally prefer they weren’t necessary and am glad my gyne docs give the option… but fully appreciate the necessity of having someone in with the doc ..100% appreciate why it is necessary. I am going to gyne doc the next time I go in for an exam. Come to think of it None of my OB docs (last pregnancy 1988) ever had a nurse in the room when they did the pelvics during entire pregnancy… or breast exams. I was new to that doc then and his partner gives me the option now.

    I am very used to the uro staff and enjoy the chatting or joking we do. It’s almost a party! ;)

    Not the exam of course ..(post idea though ;) but I mean because I get along and am so comfortable with the staff. (I’m JOKING about the party part -it’s all *dignified and professional* ..but I do have fun with them and that puts me at ease as much as one can be even though they are … familiar,professional and friendly.

    BUT .. even if the exam were with them ..if I knew they were video taping.. I can’t help it.. it would bother me. Okay..*maybe* ..I could handle the routine exam ..but if it involved pain and my reactions to it sometimes ..that would just be so embarrassing.

    What would happen to these videos? who reviews them? are they ever destroyed? It’s too creepy knowing it existed. How do you know some off hours matinee wouldn’t be up on display for all to watch and be amused by?? or got out to You-tube. I know that is extreme.. but that is the creepiness it evokes. You absolutely could NOT identify the person’s face on Tape!

    Okay ..this may also come down to a *control* issue for me.

    I know you all are looking at it (no pun intended) clinically and from a legal perspective and you should.

    But as the woman in the body that is about to get nekkid and feel awkward, embarrAssed and vulnerable in the Bajingoland position (stirrups)..it is a *big* deal. With trust in the staff ..you are surrendering your privacy, exposing your most personal body parts ..BUT.. your conscious and aware of the events in the room. However… you DON’T have *control* over that video!

    Seriously…how would it be shot? Would the patient’s face *have* to be in the picture? I’d want a Do OVER if I didn’t look good! ;)

    Seriously ..there would have to be controls on how it was done, stored, destroyed.

    You med professionals see thousands of patients during your career. For you ..it is your job to do these things. To quote Dr Elliot Reed on Scrubs, “We must’ve looked at a hundred bajingoes today… bajingo,bajingo,bajingo.” (She was tired and nonplussed with all the bajingo exams.. it’s her job.)

    But for the patients .. well .. it’s *our* bodies and we see just you. So, where we patients just fall into the mix of all the others for you..for us ..the patient ..we don’t blend in with anyone and it feels like our naked bodies are calling attention to us as if a bright neon sign were flashing… waving everyone in.

    Chaperone ..Yes.
    Tape ..NO.

    But..I understand that there are time constraints in the *ED* and witnesses not readily available.
    Where I worked ..they have cameras in place on all entrances to the hospital, corridors, etc. The tape holds 6 months or a year of info. ? I have watched it. You can zoom in, replay..etc.

    It’s a good ethics question.

  24. SeaSpray says:

    Correction: I meant to say ..I am going to ask my gyne doc why he gives the option for chaperones the next time I go in.

  25. Mirjam says:

    First off, I’m not a medical professional, just very interested in all this stuff.

    I live in Canada and I don’t think it’s the law here to have a chaperone present when having a pelvic exam done, however…I’ve always had a female nurse present whenever I needed a pelvic exam done.
    Not because I request it, but because they just do it that way. I don’t mind, might as well and I just figure that these people are professionals and see vagina’s more than I’ll ever do (and want ;)).

    Taping it would be a little over the top for me too…you might as well take all my personal information as well and distribute that across the globe. Haha, what if women would be indentified by their vagina…oh my gosh!!

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