Pelvic Exams on Unconscious Women Without Consent Are Part of Medical Training

If you had gynecological surgery at a teaching hospital in the US, there’s a good chance that after you were put under, a group of medical students used your unresponsive body to learn how to perform a proper pelvic exam.

They would use your unconscious body as a teaching tool. The students would have lined up and each one would have inserted two fingers inside your vagina feeling around to learn how to check for abnormalities. None of this would have been for your benefit and after you woke up, no one would tell you what they did to your unconscious body and they would send you on your way.

This practice still appears to be commonplace in many hospitals in the US. Little data is available as little has ever been collected about how frequent these disturbing intrusions are. Medical students across the country are familiar with the practice

Many medical students agree that obtaining women’s consent before this occurred would be preferable to waiting until women are knocked out and lining up for practice. But most of them admit they would never question their instructors, the environment of medical education is a rigid hierarchy, with most students following the instructor, afraid to dissent. 

Disturbingly, research shows the longer someone spends in medical school, the less they care about the issue, and come to see nothing wrong with it. This process shows up in many aspects of medical education, experts call it “ethical erosion.”

100 percent of women say they would prefer to be asked before they are used as a teaching tool. Most women said they would feel assaulted if they weren’t consulted beforehand. If they wanted to find out, no one has the ability to learn this happened to them. They are never given a chance to say no.



Photo: “Femme-utérus-1” by Etienne Mahler is in the Public Domain