HCPs also objectify female bodies

(85 Posts)
BlackSwan7 Sun 12-May-13 13:01:23

www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/time-to-end-pelvic-exams-done-without-consent/article4325965/

Some of you might have heard that medical students are brought in to practice pelvic exams on women who have been put under for a surgery without the woman's knowledge or consent.

How do you feel about this? I am personally horrified and absolutely disgusted. I know that our culture objectifies women and their bodies, but we rarely refer to doctors while talking about objectification. I think it's time we did.

Viewing a female body as something to "practice" a pelvic exam on without even seeking the lady's permission is the worst form of objectification. I do understand that medical students need to learn, and I am sure that many women would be happy to volunteer to help them out. But taking advantage of a vulnerable woman like that is just so unethical!

They are just looking at her as a vagina, uterus and set of ovaries they need to "learn" instead of a living breathing person with feelings, modesty and rights.

This IMO is just another aspect of the obstetric set up as it is which is aimed at disempowering women. It's shocking how little the rights of women are taken into account when it comes to things like childbirth and abortion, and this mindset is a part of that.

Would I be unreasonable to say this is comparable with date drug rape? I mean, rape is rarely about sex. It's usually about power and misogyny. Isn't this a way by which medical professionals are abusing their power by taking advantage of vulnerable women?

lottieandmia Thu 16-May-13 00:25:39

StrangeGlue sad To assume that only men are capable of misogyny shows a shocking level of ignorance.

StrangeGlue Wed 15-May-13 21:05:51

I'm horrified to find that others had similar experiences to mine. The consultant walked into the room and broke my water without looking at me and it was down hill from there. I was in the room with get for 12 hours and she didn't say a single word to me. The epidural was done wrong but not corrected for ages as no one would listen to me. I was shouted at repeated by the midwife and I had a forceps delivery which took ages and reserved my dd unable to breast feed - something I was given no support for despite asking and asking. We were discharged without her having fed at all. I can't go into the other physical stuff which happened. It's too painful even 19 months and hours of therapy for PTSD and meds for pnd later.

I too was made to feel like I should be grateful my dd is alive. I saw 17 hcp in the first week of get life and the a&e registrar was the first one to listen and actually give some advice which would work.

All of these people were female so you can fuck off with your 'why would women let this happen to women'.

This thread, by therapist and my husband are the only people who haven't made me feel like a failure or 'just be grateful for modern medicine as in the Middle Ages you'd both have died'. I should have had a c-section but the consultant didn't listen so didn't do the right thing.

lottieandmia Wed 15-May-13 20:44:09

I hope RT is not let loose on real people with his or her profound lack of empathy and skepticism.

BasilBabyEater Wed 15-May-13 20:34:08

LOL I wonder if Rootie works for the NHS and expects patients to be grateful to her?

lottieandmia Wed 15-May-13 17:36:14

I guess people like RT are the reason Jimmy Savile got away with abusing others for decades 'I know all about the BBC, nothing like that could happen here'

FloraFox Wed 15-May-13 17:27:38

Classy? Coming from you, pfft.

You have insufficient information to make any assumptions about your knowledge of the NHS relative to anyone else here. This statement however together with your incorrect use of the word "irony" is evidence that your intellect is lacking. Your willingness to attack a woman who is trying to discuss a harrowing experience which you know nothing about is evidence that your morals are lacking. I suggest you fuck off right now before you disgrace yourself any further.

lottieandmia Wed 15-May-13 17:20:09

'I bet I know more about the NHS than most on here which is why I'm highly skeptical.'

Ah I see - you work for the NHS so you know what has happened in every PCT up and down the country in every patient's care? Silly me for not working that out before hmm

RootinTootin Wed 15-May-13 17:12:49

"cunts like you who know fuck all about the situation" very classy and also inaccurate.

I bet I know more about the NHS than most on here which is why I'm highly skeptical.

lottieandmia Wed 15-May-13 16:58:49

Good posts, Flora and Eldritch.

EldritchCleavage Wed 15-May-13 16:41:47

Well said 8FloraFox*.
Can you imagine anyone shrugging off doctors teaching medical students to do cystograms (up the penis with a tube procedure-think I've got the name right) and prostate checks on drugged, unconsenting male patients? I can't see that happening. Would the male patients concerned just say 'Oh well, whatever?' Unlikely.

And there is no reason to treat women with any less consideration.

FloraFox Wed 15-May-13 16:36:22

Rootin your attitudes and behaviour are the reason why institutional abuse carries on in any field. You might believe that doctors are your betters who can do no wrong. Others have clearly felt the same way about celebrities, the BBC, the police, the clergy, social workers etc which has led to lifetimes of misery for those subjected to abuse. It's almost invariably the case that some individuals did speak up at the time and cunts like you who know fuck all about the situation or the individuals involved are perfectly willing to say "you're lying" or "it can't possibly be the case that <insert status> would do such a thing". There are no doubt people suffering in such situations now and you and people like you are responsible for this continuing by creating an environment where people do not speak out for fear of others doing exactly what you are doing on this thread.

We pay for the NHS. HCPs are not angels and we don't need to be grateful for abusive or substandard treatment.

EldritchCleavage Wed 15-May-13 15:32:15

Can I just say that I absolutely hate the terms 'birth rape' and 'medical rape', as I do any prefix to the word rape (date, stranger, marital). I don't think splitting it up into categories is helpful or appropriate. And it often starts to feel like ranking the types of attack as though some are more horrible or worthy of belief than others, which is dangerous (not saying anyone on this thread has that intention).

The terrible things that some of you have gone through are plainly rape and/or sexual assault and should simply be called that. Where there is no therapeutic necessity for the touching and no consent, it is sexual assault plain and simple.

lottieandmia Wed 15-May-13 14:47:23

It is not in dispute by anyone sensible that some HCPs don't understand that they need to treat their patients with respect, otherwise why would there currently be so much discussion about the need to review how nurses are trained, how it has become too academic and how too many nurses lack bedside manner? This is widely accepted as a problem in the NHS at the moment.

Have any of you heard the programmes on radio 4 about this issue? I recently heard some heartbreaking experiences of people who had to watch terminally ill or elderly relatives live out their last days treated with an uncaring and disrespectful approach, which caused both emotional and physical pain to the patient.

Why would anyone not believe that this can also happen to labouring women or women under GA? ie - also too vulnerable at that time to speak out for themselves!

BigBlockSingsong Wed 15-May-13 14:46:16

When I was pregnant , I was a higher BMI and a few times a female consultant allowed male medical students . (they were always male) come in, never ask and I was to shy to make a scene, I would have to take about my threatened miscarriage , so bleeding from my hoo-haa and get weighed infront of a male younger than me (for some reason this made it worse)
Although I noticed the med students were the only ones to say please and thankyou,
When I was being induced the male the doctor yet again . walked in like god, god forbid a 'please' escape his mouth and let his (again young) student try and feel my babies head which of course required me to pull some my trou/knickers lower and stood there for about 10 mins pressing, nudging, talking weight etc.
It was a small nicety when the medical student said thanks for letting me, it was the only manners I had encountered for a while.
I had to have an ecv too, which although was neccesary is agonising and violating.
I really wish I said something in Hindsight.

Percephone Wed 15-May-13 14:35:02

When I was medical student (2001) if we wanted to examine anyone during a surgical procedure then we had to seek written consent from the patient the day before and there were no exceptions to this rule. Also this was only patients who were attending for gynae surgery. General surgeons have no interest in teaching vaginal examinations during their list!

In my experience the nursing staff and other HCPs are strong advocates for their patients and (correctly) are very quick to tell medical students what is and isn't allowed.

However when I have my baby later this year I will be shouting very loudly about what I do and don't consent to.

RiotsNotDiets Wed 15-May-13 14:32:16

about 2 and a half years ago Rootin, what difference does that make?

HanShotFirst Wed 15-May-13 14:31:59

I agree with lottie - there are great HCPs and crap ones, and it's about time that we all started feeling we are able to talk about this without being shouted down with things like "don't use the NHS if you hate it that much" and telling us how lucky we are to have it.

As Riots, Schro, myself and countless others have probably found, especially, when talking about experiences during pregnancy and childbirth, there is the attitude of "well what did you think was going to happen? You're having a baby/course it's embarrassing/it's got to come out one way or another/people have been doing this thousands of years, you're not the first mother ever, stop making a fuss! Etc, etc, etc" and it's about time that we got listened to, and our experiences taken seriously, rather than being told that this is the best we can expect and have.

lottieandmia Wed 15-May-13 14:31:18

'People don't want to hear about it because they still feel women are incubators. As long as the baby is fine, the physical and emotional impact on a woman is irrelevant.'

Yes, I totally agree with this. I always tried to have home births as I felt I would have more control.

RootinTootin Wed 15-May-13 14:30:01

How long ago was this?

Lottapianos Wed 15-May-13 14:29:46

What 'misunderstanding' could there be about a consultant shoving his hand into a patient's vagina without so much as a greeting, then encouraging a student to 'have a go'? shock

'Why would women allow this to happen to women?'

Why indeed - but it doesn't mean it didn't happen. I'm sure we have all seen women do vile things to other women. I have had a female nurse make me cry because she was so horrible during a blood test, and I am a tough cookie when it comes to medical procedures.

RiotsNotDiets Wed 15-May-13 14:27:30

Why is it questionable? The doctor did not have my permission to touch me, he hadn't even told me what he was doing. I BEGGED HIM TO STOP.

There's nothing in there that would lead anyone to question my definition of assault. The only reason to doubt that it was assault is if you think I am making it up.

RootinTootin Wed 15-May-13 14:23:49

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

RiotsNotDiets Wed 15-May-13 14:23:00

Thanks Lottie it's painful enough to talk about it without being made to feel like a liar.

RootinTootin Wed 15-May-13 14:21:16

There are 2 sides to every story and you talk about things going "unchallenged" yet you take these stories at face value and don't even question the posters potential bias or misunderstanding.

Why would women allow this to happen to women?

lottieandmia Wed 15-May-13 14:21:06

Ignore it Riots brew Anyone with a shred of decency will believe your story and not make it worse by sticking the boot in.

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