As a general rule of thumb, we trust our doctors and the staff that help them in our care. We automatically assume that they are looking after our best interests even when we are not in a position to do so ourselves. We think that violations against our bodies are a rare thing that happens to someone else, and never to us. If you have ever had surgery, however, there is a good possibility that your body and your rights have been violated by medical professionals.
Are You a Guinea Pig?
There are actually many instances where a patient has been violated during surgery, or when they were unable to stop the violation or even to remember that it ever occurred in the first place. In some instances, the violation occurs for medical purposes, no matter how unnecessary it is. For example, it is possible that a line of medical students will parade past you while you are completely unaware, and that they may actually perform some type of examination on you – for practice – such as a vaginal or rectal examination.
According to Madison Mag , in Australia, medical students have been performing intimate examinations on unconscious patients without the patient’s knowledge or consent. 200 students at three unnamed medical schools in Australia were a part of this study, and of those 200 students, approximately 82% carried out orders from their instructors to perform these intimate examinations on these patients – without question.
When we think of violations that could be done to our bodies or to our sense of modesty, many people mistakenly assume that such violations only happen to female patients, and only by male medical personnel, and this could not be any further from the truth. Male patients are violated as much as female patients and those who are doing the violating are both male and female.
We should never assume that a man cannot be as modest as a woman. Men can also be violated during certain procedures, as their privacy can also be violated while they are awake. For example, in the doctor’s office when a man has a physical examination, he may be asked to strip down to nothing and don a hospital gown – and once he has done this, and while he is being examined, female nurses or aides may be parading in and out of the room, to his total discomfort.
If You Suspect Violations
As a patient, you should protect yourself from violations as much as possible while you are in a position to do so. For example, if you are asked to disrobe or disrobed while many people are in the room, you have the right to protest this and to ask for privacy. You have a voice, and you must use it.
Before consenting to any surgery, you need as many details as possible, and it is wise to verbally state that you do not want any medical students present during the procedure, and it is acceptable to actually write this out and ask the surgeon to sign it, agreeing that this will not happen. You also need to verbally state and state in writing that you do not give consent for certain types of examinations or procedures during the surgery, such as rectal examinations or vaginal examinations, unless the surgery requires such examinations.
You also have the right to ask for medical professionals of a specific gender, although in some cases, there may not be a needed professional of the gender that you have requested available for the procedure, in which case your doctor should notify you of this in advance so that you can decide whether to move forward or to postpone the procedure.
The truth is that doctors and other medical professionals see naked bodies on a daily basis – and in droves – so they rarely think about the modesty issues that you may have. This, of course, could be a problem for you, and it is essential that you bring up modesty issues if anything is being done or a situation exists that is making you uncomfortable. If you do not voice your concerns or issues, the medical professionals simply do not think about how you may be feeling concerning the situation.
If you feel that your wishes regarding modesty have been violated, it is your responsibility to discuss this with your surgeon, but also to report the incident to the hospital and other medical associations as well. If you have written your wishes and stated those wishes verbally, you may be able to successfully sue. If possible, get pictures. For example, if you have orally stated that you do not want catherization, and you have written that no such consent is given for this procedure, and you awake to find that you are indeed catherized, have a loved one take a picture of this violation, report it, and file suit.