Pelvic Exams Done Without Consent
My friend Liz sent me a link to an article in The Globe and Mail, she was pretty appalled by what she had read and wanted me to help spread the word. So here I am spreading the word that in Canada medical students routinely perform pelvic exams on unconscious women who are about to undergo gynecological surgery and as the title of the post clearly states the pelvic exam is done without the patients consent.
I too was pretty appalled when I read this, that is until I realized that the exams were only performed in the context of a gynecological surgery. The idea that you could go in to have your tonsils removed and unknowingly have a med student riffle around inside your vagina while you lay there unconscious was a horrible thought. Obviously, there is still the issue of consent, but at least the exams were done in context. For some reason, that makes me feel better about it. Sorry, Liz.
No matter how warranted these exams are in the context of a teaching hospital, the patients consent should be at the forefront of the issue. No consent, no pelvic exam. Seems like a rather simple conclusion, no? Well, apparently in Canada the patients consent is implied rather than explicit (they perform the same exams in the U.S. and the U.K. but require the patients outright consent). Canada what happened to your usually well earned good manners?
It’s absurd to think that this shit is actually happening in our hospitals and although I don’t like to jump to conclusions and blame the patriarchy, part of me wonders if they would ever perform a prostate exam (without consent) on a poor, hapless, unconscious man who was in the hospital for a vasectomy. I mean do they or is it just us women who get probed without consent while unconscious? “Hell boys, she already has her legs wide open up on that gurney, I’m sure she won’t mind and more to the point she won’t remember a thing. Not if no one tells her. Wink, wink.”
Ok, now I’m mad. Go ahead read the article and the comment section. Tell me what you think!