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Single Mum of teenage chef, affectionately known as The Brat. Have started a new life at the tender age of 44, embarking on a relationship with my childhood sweetheart... I know cliche central, but so far it works for us! New job, new friends, new challenges. Life's GOOD!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've just read a story (read it here) about medical students here and in the UK, performing intrusive examinations on anaesthetised patients without their consent. Comments on the story ranged from "outrageous" and "Rape" to "how else will our Doctors learn?"

It got me thinking. As you know I've recently undergone extensive treatment for Breast Cancer. That treatment included surgery. Does it bother me to think that there may have been a number of students lining up to palpate my breasts whilst I was unconscious? Not really... if nothing else, they may have learned that not all lumps are detectable by physical examination. Mine wasn't! Even with scans providing a roadmap for him, my surgeon was unable to feel the cancerous lump in my breast!

But what if I found out those same students performed an "internal examination" which had no bearing on my current condition? You know what? I still don't think I have a problem with it. I mean, I line up voluntarily every year for these procedures, more frequently if there's any kind of issue. What if one of these "unnecessary" examinations uncovered a problem? Am I going to sue the hospital for allowing the medical student to perform this "sexual assault" (thus potentially saving my life)? Not a hope. So why would I have a problem with the student ascertaining that there's NO problem. Short answer... I DON'T!

I've had experience with medical students in potentially embarrassing situations. While in labour with The Brat, the OB doc and I were at odds over whether or not I needed a Caesarian. (For the record, I was right, I didn't, The Brat was born naturally, if painfully). Anyone who's given birth knows that there's no dignity in childbirth anyway, and I've read the opinion that a labouring woman is in no way fit to consent to anything (you might be surprised!), but honestly, I REALLY didn't have any issue, and still don't, that The Brat's arrival was witnessed by a somewhat larger audience than originally planned. If nothing else, I hope those students left the room appreciating that it's always a bad idea to ignore a patient when he/she suggests that they have half a clue about their own body.

I think for me, and you may have a different view, it's the assumption that performing these procedures does NOT provide any form of sexual gratification for the Doctor, or the student Doctor. with no motivation to acheive sexual gratification, can this be considered sexual assault? Sure, I know we read about Docs being disciplined for inappropriate conduct towards their patients, but seriously, these are in the minority. I just can't imagine that there are too many people out there who are so twisted that they are prepared to spend thousands of dollars, and years of their lives, looking for an "easy" way to indulge their sick fantasies.

An element of trust is necessary when we ask virtual strangers to take such intimate care of us. I just can't be bothered believing that everyone out there wants nothing more than to do me harm. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one.


  1. I think you geta vibe when somebody is thinking something dodgy; it's an energy.
    I have had one bad experience with a doctor who was really suss (and confirmed by anecdotes from friends who saw him too) but he gave out a weird , arrogant signal and I stopped short fo doing as he requested because it made no sense (to take my top off for a sore throat).
    Normally, in ob/ gyn they are so paranoid about law suits that there are alway female nurses present.Abigail

  2. It'd be nice if people in professional positions like doctors and teachers were still given the respect they used to have - if doctors could do their job without the assumption being that they're looking to go the grope, that teachers don't have to deal with the assumption that they want to interfere with your kids, that the cops aren't all corrupt and violent thugs (irony alert given the number of same in the ITWPT universe) - but that seems to be the default preconception in the modern world, fuelled by a media who sell papers etc on the back of spotlighting the rare bad eggs and inferring that's the case across the board.

    Personally I'm quite convinced the very pleasant male oncologist whose job it is to fumble with the contents of my trousers every three months gets about as much joy from it as I do, which is fuck all of none. It's a job. I'd rather they get trained for it as well as can be arranged.

  3. yeah..MM you are right, So's Doc here as well.

    The risks, which I think are so fkn small its not funny, are by far, outweighed by the benefits.

    Doc's last statement really hits the nail on the head. , plus..its a job, daily grind does aply and the been there, seen it a bazilion fkn times..well, you get my drift!.

    I remember going in for the vascectomy, doc and nurse. He possibly did 20 or more a day, so did she. Worried about tackle out and her seeing / moving it around..al be it with a crane(lol)...I think not, its just par for the course for them.

    I laughed at the CHILD BIRTH BIT!..yeah, Mrs H...ANGRY at some points...care factor on who was there..FUCK ALL!..ZILCH I THINKS.

    gpood post BTW

  4. I think you nailed it with the sexual motivation bit as opposed to the professional nature of examination. I just can't see why someone going through all that training would be sexually motivated to look at and fiddle with the bits of unconscious people who have medical conditions. As Dr Y and Hav pointed out, when people do examine your bits when you're wide awake, they've done it zillions of times before and find it simply part of the job.
    Mind you, there's nothing wrong with girls who like to dress up in nurses outfits, wink wink, nudge nudge, f'nar f'nar.
    Didn't realise your blog wasn't on my follow list. Now rectified.

  5. Thanks Guys!

    Abs - yep, there's always going to be the odd few you wanna stay clear of.

    Doc - Respect, that's the key isn't it? And the need to sensationalise in the media in order to compete. One commenter at the original story stated that she'll wait to read the actual report, thank you very much.

    Havs - Only YOU would laugh at childbirth, and a CRANE??? Lol!! Thanks though, and I guess one of the things I'd worry about (if I were inclined to worry about this shit, which I'm not), is that the repetitive nature of constant exams like this could lead to boredom, thus inattention, and possible slip-ups.

    Therbs - I haven't actually read the dictionary definition of rape, but you'd have to assume that the words "for sexual gratification" or a variant thereof would have to be there somewhere? In terms of girls in Nurses uniforms... Mate it's been a while since you went near a hospital hasn't it? :)

  6. Had a dentist once who I stopped going to because I was convinced he was a serial killer.

    That was based on absolutely nothing beyond his slightly creepy appearance. ;)

    I've had both male and female doctors poke around my delicate areas, and I've never had a problem.

    There are no doubt bad eggs in the medical industry. But it's interesting to see how much treatment is a two way street, and how much some patients will just not respond to some doctors.

    I read an article last year about something called "birth rape" or something like that - basically it's women who feel they're victimised during the actual birth process.

    I can understand it's a traumatic and sensitive time, and I don't really know how you reconcile people's sensitivity about being exposed with the need to prioritise a safe delivery.

  7. Sensible comments all. Except H who clearly can't tell a crane from a micro... Never mind. Worst story ever - friend who was a high school teacher had an early arrival for her 3rd child. Rushed into the delivery room, doctor turns around and says "Hallo Mrs D" with a big smile. Ex-student.

  8. Yep - I had the full peanut gallery for my brat's birth. However, I felt an obligation to be a guinea pig for those kids. I was a public patient. I am the opposite of prudish about my nether regions and so was in a position to be of some help to them because I was conscious at the time:
    "no, that's not it - up a bit, further - yep , there you go - how many fingers now?' you get the drift.

    However, at a certain point the old gyno who had seen all the colour drain from my face, stepped back out of the line of fire and said to his young students: "Now you will observe transition to stage three." Got every single one of them.

  9. During my first pregnancy, I was a bit worried about strangers seeing my undercarriage. A friend who had 'been there, done that' assured me that I would be in too much pain to care.

    She was wrong. I did care. Quite a lot. But I was in too much pain to do anything about it. Which was annoying, as the last hour was like a scene from The Meaning Of Life. (Yes, they did have the machine that went BING!)

    It was horrid. Still, I suppose I should be grateful I got all my kidlets out before camera phones became commonplace. *shudder*

  10. I agree 100%, Mayhem. Intent is a crucial component if you're going to classify an assault as sexual. And yes, rape is about power not sex, but that's an argument for another blog.

    It's highly unlikely that anyone conducting an exam in front of a mentor and assorted other students and staff is getting any kind of illicit thrill.

    On the other hand, informed consent should be obtained before medical students start diving into your rude bits. Aside from any legal ramifications, it's common courtesy - and what with the god complex and all, a courteous doctor is too uncommon!

  11. Student doctors aren't perverts. Perverts know that if they want a peek, they don't have to waste 7 years studying medicine. All they have to do is watch Video Hits on a Saturday morning. Ladies(?) in the rock'n'roll industry aren't shy about displaying what their mamas gave them. And every now and then, one of them can sing, too. The ladies, not the perverts - although I could be wrong about that.


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