When medical students came forward earlier this year to out the practice of performing pelvic exams on women patients under anesthesia, and without consent, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Going into the hospital for a surgical procedure and having someone violate you unknowingly is appalling.
As one of the teachers in the new documentary At Your Cervix says, this practice teaches medical students that you can do to your patient "whatever you can get away with." Not cool. Some went so far to call this practice rape.
As this new documentary shows, these teachers are putting their cervix where their mouth is (okay, that sounded bad) and solving the problem of not enough vaginas in medical school.
It's revolutionary and, I also think, kind of disturbing.
The pros and cons of these brave, principled teachers are complicated. Anything that increases physical intimacy between teacher and student makes me squeamish. But the industriousness of these teachers should be applauded.
Here's the situation, as I see it:
If your teacher is your subject, you will probably pay a lot more attention and treat the patient with the utmost respect.
No more violating unsuspecting women who have no idea your hand has been up in her business.
It's hard for me to accept that seeing your teacher's vagina is okay in any circumstance.
What happened to teaching hospitals? Or residencies? Can't these exams be done in tandem with the attending physician without student and teacher confusing the roles? It seems like there's an easier way than this.
What do you think? Are these teachers heroes or misguided?
Image via Daquella manera/Flickr