When Doctors Won’t Take “No” for an Answer

imagespePeople were outraged when the furtive practice of performing pelvic exams without consent on anesthetized women undergoing surgery came to light.  People discovered that women who were admitted to hospital for surgery were not being informed that their vaginas could be penetrated when they were unconscious by groups of medical students practicing pelvic exams.  Andre Picard from the Globe and Mail helped bring this troubling practice to the public’s attention with his piece titled Time to end pelvic exams done without consentwherein he asks “Do you consider this okay, or an outrageous violation of your rights?”.  Picard’s article was one among many – mainstream media had a heyday.  The public’s awareness was raised, and people expressed shock mingled with disgust that the pelvic exam practice was being permitted without women’s knowledge or consent.

However, what many people may be unaware of is the fact that women experience similar health care-related practices outside of the hospital.  When women visit a doctor, they often face a similar withholding of informed consent in regards to pelvic exams.  Thousands of pap tests/pelvic exams are routinely being performed in doctor’s offices without women’s informed consent.  Many women are not being given information nor are they being asked for their consent prior to doctors going ahead with invasive exams.  In fact, many women are not even aware that they have a right to informed consent.  In addition, the pap test/pelvic exam situation goes beyond a lack of informed consent because in many cases women face coercion when they say “no”.  Yes, you read that right; when women go to see their doctor they often face coercion to undergo a pelvic exam/pap test, regardless of the original reason for their visit. And often they are unable to obtain medications or have their health issues addressed unless they submit to a pap test/pelvic exam.  Unethical practices in women’s health care include the following:

  • Many doctors are not offering women any information about pap tests/pelvic exams, and so many women remain unaware of the fact that they have a right to refuse the exam
  • Many doctors are not informing women about the purpose of pap tests/pelvic exams
  • Many doctors are not informing women about the risks of harm of pap testing (further testing that may be necessary due to false positive test results, unnecessary cervical biopsies, irreparable injury to healthy cervix’s, heavy bleeding, risk of miscarriage when a woman is pregnant, infection due to improper cleaning of speculum, psychological harm, etc)
  • Many doctors are not asking for women’s consent prior to performing pelvic exams
  • Many doctors do not disclose the fact that cervical cancer is rare
  • Many doctors are failing to disclose the fact they are able to charge more fees for pap tests, and/or in some cases are offered incentive payments to screen a certain percentage of their female patients
  • Many doctors remain silent about the high rate of inaccurate pap test results
  • Many doctors give pap testing priority over a woman’s own health concerns, and often ask the question “when was your last pap test?” ahead of any questions that address the woman’s health issue
  • Despite ACOG’s stance that a pap test/pelvic exam is not necessary prior to prescribing birth control prescriptions, many doctors still insist that women need to undergo the exam prior to being granted a prescription
  • When women are pregnant they are often subjected to pap test coercion
  • Some women refuse to visit doctors in order to avoid pap test coercion, even when ill and/or in need of medical attention

Given that women’s vaginas are being penetrated without women’s explicit consent in the doctor’s office in a manner similar to what is being done to women when they are in the hospital undergoing surgery, one has to wonder at the discrepancy between the public’s awareness of one practice over the other.  Where is the mainstream media coverage in relation to these insidious and unethical practices that occur behind doctors’ closed doors as a matter of ‘routine’?  And, perhaps more importantly, where is the public outrage?

More on this topic:
Informed Consent Missing:http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2009/11/informed-consent-missing-pap-smears-cervical-cancer-screening.html
Why Doctor Does Not Have Smears:http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2234123-why-i-don-t-have-smears
Questioning the Pelvic Exam:http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/an-exam-with-poor-results/
Do New Guidelines and Technology Make the Routine Pelvic Examination Obsolete?:http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jwh.2010.2349
What some male doctors do when women say “no”
Top Five Reasons for Opting Out of Pap Tests

About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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47 Responses to When Doctors Won’t Take “No” for an Answer

  1. Moo says:

    After the linked Globe and Mail article (2010), there are readers’ comments. One anesthesiologist commented that only the gynological surgeries would have a few students attending and there is never any parade of students coming in the operating room. However what happens before and after on the wards to patients? One reader also asked if unconscious male patients are given rectal exams without consent.

    It really difficult to believe what really happens in Canadian hospitals when after this article was written several medical associations made official policies regarding consent to pelvic exams and several doctors wrote articles about what actually happens. Then there is the case of the doctor who was on trial for sexually abusing patients before during and after surgeries (2014). No wonder some patients duct tape their underwear to their body before any surgeries.

    • BethK says:

      The answer to whether or not men are given unconscious rectal exams without consent is a resounding YES. My husband is also frequently coerced and bullied into prostate exams, and has been coerced and bullied into accepting a very ineffective prescription for “enlarged prostate” with a ton of side effects…. with very little evidence.

      It’s a matter of doctors paternalizing their patients more than it is (male) doctors treating their women patients like second-class citizens.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Beth, that’s interesting, the men in my family are always treated respectfully while many of the women have a different story, doctors pressuring them, talking over the top of them when they decline, trying to scare them, tut-tutting them, misinformation etc.
        It comes down to doctor-shopping, they’re all safely in respectful hands now.

        The difference in treatment is like day and night, personally, I believe the profession has a problem with women making their own decisions and being in charge of their health, so we see strong resistance to anything that might put women in control, like informed consent, taking the Pill off script or offering HPV self-testing.
        Women are expected to do as they’re told…I think the States will see the OTC Pill long before we do. (especially considering the recent outrageous public comments made by two senior male doctors speaking on behalf of the AMA)
        I know it’s different in the States, I recall some posts from American men, one of whom avoided doctors due to the pressure to have prostate screening. Also, one high profile American doctor (can’t recall which one) said as a young doctor he was urged to pressure men to have prostate screening because it amounted to good business for the hospital, so many of these men ended up having biopsies, losing their prostate and then having issues like impotence and incompetence. Win:win for the hospital, a business model called healthcare.
        Of course, the inventor of the PSA test despairs over it’s use as a screening test that’s resulted in widespread harm, it was never intended to be a screening test, but something used by men after prostate cancer surgery to check all was well.
        The annual exam-everything and the well-woman exam are no doubt a large part of the problem faced by Americans. I’m horrified how “thorough” these exams can be (I’d say weird)…on Dr Bernstein’s forum there was an American man complaining that female doctors don’t thoroughly examine his genitals at his annual. What?
        He obviously expected that every square inch should be examined together with a battery of tests. These exams started a long time ago, from memory it was promoted by insurance companies who thought it was a way to save money on healthcare. The UK decided to do a trial and found they provided no benefit to the patient, but the exams triggered a lot of extra testing…thankfully, they were never introduced in the UK, much of Europe, NZ or here. (although we have our problems too…)

      • BethK says:

        Elizabeth,

        My husband had an incident several years ago while undergoing surgery on his hand. He was taken to the operating room wearing his underwear and socks. He woke up during the surgery…. stark naked and COLD. He’d had the surgery on his hand before, and he’d always woken up in recovery clothed. Why remove the clothing for HAND SURGERY, and why lie about it?

        He wonders if there wasn’t a “form a line to the left” to give students a practice rectal exam. He did complain of…discomfort… afterward, but chalked it up to the anesthesia causing constipation. He’s not so sure now. We’re trying to find a way to watch each other’s surgeries, or have them filmed. One can see splices in a video, or the camera being turned off and on.

        Another time, he had a cholesterol test taken after a very fatty lunch. It was a little high, and the doctor thought he should go on a dubious cholesterol med with a lot of side effects. He refused. The doctor literally chased us out into the waiting room screaming “If you don’t start taking (drug X) you will DIE!!!” That’s so unprofessional on so many levels that it’s beyond belief. BTW, a second test done about a week later in another practice was normal. Men get pressured and iatrogenicly abused too…. just differently.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Beth
        I fear ever needing surgery because I simply don’t trust the system. I know they’ll agree to most things, but once you’re out to it, well, I suspect anything goes. (well, almost anything) I’m not sure what we can do about it, some suggest a patient advocate, someone who goes into surgery to protect us from abuse and insensitive treatment.

        I know women who’ve asked for a female technician only to find a male calling them into the room, “we swapped shifts”. My friend returned when the woman was available, but others may have just given in. If you’re unable to stand up for yourself, you’re in trouble…but then it becomes more and more difficult to do that when you’re about to be wheeled into theatre or about to be put under.
        I was reading the Birth Trauma website (I don’t anymore, it was causing nightmares) and a woman was naked and in stirrups while they were preparing her for a c-section, at the same time assorted people strolled in and out of the room. Talk about de-humanizing treatment. It’s damaging stuff and I noted some of the accounts were still rare many years later, this sort of treatment often stays with us for life.

      • Jola says:

        Ridiculous, stupid or whatever it may sound, I’m seriously thinking about a ”chastity” belt in case of emergency in hospital – who knows what can happen any time, any day. Oh, yes, you will say how stupid I am. Refusing to take off the pants when you’re asked (when taking them off has nothing to do with your problem) may not prevent them from taking them off by themselves when you’re under anaesthetic. Can you imagine a, let’s call it, ”chastity” belt, or something with letters in fron: f…k off! ?
        I don’t believe any letters or statements with the patient’s signature will work. The medical people don’t think about our feelings and thoughts, about our embarrassment, negative consequences of medical treatments – we are just (pardon the expression) meat brining profits for them and bodies on which and in which they can perform whatever they wish.

      • bethkz says:

        Jola,

        I don’t think it’s stupid or ridiculous to consider a chastity belt in case of a hospital emergency! I considered one too. I ultimately decided against it, because you and I know darned well that they are well in the habit of cutting off any article of clothing etc that the patient wears in with them that just MIGHT get in their way. I was taken in with a car accident, wearing a dress, which was cut into rags removing it – and it just slipped over my head with no fasteners. Underwear too were cut off. There are stories about someone coming in wearing a chastity device of some type, and those too have been cut off, making them unusable afterwards, There are metal cutters they can use too.

        It wouldn’t work. It would be expensive and a bit uncomfortable to wear for a false sense of security.

      • Alex says:

        This is kind of a broad rant, but there’s something that I’ve noticed: other people don’t do shit like that. Cab drivers, mechanics, accountants- pretty much anybody, they don’t get like this. Medical personnel as a general rule have a real issue with anything that in any way blocks access to any part of someone’s body, including that person’s refusal. Doesn’t matter what the situation is, the background is that they figure it’s their call what they do to somebody & their call alone.

        I figure a destruction of their situation would work to mostly fix these sorts of things. Sure, the schooling can be altered. An overhaul of the information & the attitude that is transmitted would be very useful. On the other hand, they’re left to police their own situations as it is & would most likely re-approve all the same things.

        Actual, physical danger for them (that isn’t self-determined) is a good one. If they were going to be hurt bad because they pulled something, creepy or not, I bet that self-preservation urge would kick in & make them behave. Sociopaths tend to be big about making sure #1 is unharmed. Then again, they DO already take some degree of risk now & they don’t hold back on anything. Maybe it would just work to reduce their numbers.

        Something like arguing with the intention of gaining their support (trying to convert them) is usually useless. Overall, that’s the only thing that tends to happen- an invitation to change. Even when the research of their own fucking profession contraindicates the shit they do, they just stick to it.

        This is with everything. Them getting bossy with women (or anyone, really- but women are the general targets) takes various dimensions & their quality control lately is appalling. The medicine isn’t safe, they’re too arrogant to catch their own mistakes, they lie constantly, and any chance to stick something in someone is persued like an junky after a fix.

  2. Alex says:

    Not to be crude, but don’t forget: that’s not the only area involved sometimes. This includes men & women. They seem to fixate quite a bit on people’s colons & such lately.

    They have a tendancy toward thinking that anything that deviates from the conclusions THEY’VE reached is untrue. There’s a movie called Perfect Getaway that illustrates this type of thinking toward the end. Can’t explain it without giving away the plot too much, but I was watching it last night & this came to mind. Doubly so, since a lot of serial killers are drawn to the medical professions because of a perceived control of life & death.

    There was even a scene where an EMT was NOT listening when someone was trying to tell them something & was trying to hold her down while one of the killers was chasing her. That part rang true- the disregardive manner, that “I’ve made a decision & I think it’s perfectly fine” tone, the near-immediate attempt to get a hold of someone instead of them doing things on their own. Definitely made me wonder what would happen if they were in an ambulance or a hosptial & they were trying to do something to her that she didn’t want.

  3. cindy knoke says:

    Do pelvics without consent to anesthesized women is horrible.

  4. cindy knoke says:

    I am still thinking about performing pelvic and rectal exams on anesthesized patients for training purposes without informed consent.
    If physicians feel this is a necessary and benign practice they should volunteer to do the procedures on themselves. Let the senior gynecologists have his/her interns perform these procedures on themselves.
    Guess what?
    They’d never do it.
    It’s too embarrassing and invasive.
    Training physicians like this strips them of essential empathy and adds to many of the problems patients experience with their physicians.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      I agree with you, Cindy. It’s this sort of conduct being viewed as acceptable that adds to the attitudes we see in women’s healthcare, where there is little or no respect for informed consent and even consent itself can be violated. Women are treated like mere bodies, not independent and competent adults.
      Cervical screening is often performed as a result of medical coercion, hardly surprising some doctors view this as an acceptable practice when they see consent being disregarded for women in other settings, like pelvic exams without consent under GA.
      It’s these attitudes and practices that must be addressed and challenged, our bodies belong to us and we have the same legal rights as men, and doctors have an ethical and legal obligation to respect our right to choose what happens to our body.
      When you allow consent to be ignored, you leave women open for abuse and that’s exactly what’s happened.

      • Alex says:

        Cindy: Great point! I didn’t even think of that & I’ll bet they’d be much less ignorant of the effects & utilities of whatever the procedures were. Then again, they might be willing to “take the hit to keep on swinging,” so to speak.

        Elizabeth: Keep in mind that you’re not very likely to get any support from them. If they were inclined differently, they’d act differently. All the bullshit that they dispense & supposedly don’t know anything about has to come from somewhere & there’s plenty that they pull all on their own. I’m not saying their REPLACEMENTS wouldn’t act better, but the current population is a bit of a dry well.

        They see patients as disease entities, not people. Even if they DID see them as people, they see them as inferior people by comparison to themselves.

  5. BethK says:

    Count me among those who does not go to the doctor when I have a real health concern mainly out of pap (and other screening) bullying and coercion.

    If I go to a doctor with some immediate health complaint, the first question is “When was your last pap?” That is soon followed by “When was your last mammogram?” and “When was your last colonscopy?” When I don’t give them a specific answer within the past year, or give any answer at all, the rest of the visit is taken up with them talking to me about how important it is that I have this test TODAY for this very rare cancer. Then, they either talk about mamograms or colonscopies if there is time in that visit, and/or I’m given information about where and when they’ve made appointments for me to have these screening tests. Meanwhile, whatever my complaint is has gotten no attention or even asentence of discussion. I’ll have to come back. Their next appointment is weeks away. By then, the problem has resolved or it’s gotten worse. It’s more pap coercion and more mammogram and colonscopy bullying – “Why didn’t you keep that appointment we made for you???” I try to explain the health concern, and it’s still ignored.

    This continues until the problem goes away on its own, or it becomes so critical that I go to the emergency room. In the emergency room, the question and admonishment is, “Why didn’t you see a doctor for this sooner?” (Possibly followed by more pap admonishments and shaming for letting it go so long that it was an issue at the doctor.) By this time, the original problem is now a major problem, unless it has resolved.

    My attempting to see a doctor early for the problem has gotten me nowhere. I got no evaluation or treatment until it was a critical concern. The only difference between seing a doctor or not about it is the stress I’ll undergo while refusing these unnecessary tests and the costs for undergoing that stress and no treatment. I’ll take no treatment without the stress, thank you.

    Yes, on the larger scale it is a huge health risk to the public. Focusing on a rare cancer to the exclusion of everything else It prevents any medical care leading to more critical conditions.

    Of course, then, if part of your complaint about the immediate medical concern is “I have a pain “here”.”, the next 5 minutes willl be spent telling me how they will not prescribe pain pills – as if I am some druggie. If I’ve gotten that far, I want TREATMENT, not hiding the symptoms. Then, that’s another visit to maybe get treatment…

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      I’d be staying away too, Beth, what a nightmare!
      Thankfully, my doctor-shopping found me a great GP, she listens, is respectful and accepts my decisions. My file has been marked, screening is never mentioned to me unless I raise it or my GP is away and I see someone else in the practice. I must say though most of the doctors I’ve seen have been respectful, one GP asked me about pap tests, she must have been curious about the note and there was no screening history on the computer, we ended up having a chat about informed consent and evidence based screening. I saw it as an opportunity to educate, it still amazes me though that most doctors are surprised when a woman has any knowledge on the subject or someone who refuses with sound reasons to back it up. (and that should NOT be necessary)
      “How did you find out about that?” was the response when I mentioned the target payments for pap tests, it’s easier for the program if we don’t know about these things.

      I suspect if you’re informed, you’re more likely to get co-operation, rather than orders and pressure. It becomes dangerous to push an informed women into screening when she’s concerned about false positives, excess biopsies etc. These things are so common and a decent doctor knows cc is rare. It changes the power dynamic, or so I’ve found.

      Once again, I know things are different in the States and informed women are more likely to be coerced, pressured or sacked. I also, know that doctor-shopping is difficult with your insurance company dictating what practices you can use.

      So much for screening adding to our health, IMO, it was a dark day for women’s healthcare when screening was introduced (read: mandated)…now the focus is on a rare cancer and breast cancer while far more likely risks to our health are largely ignored, like heart disease. A colleague told me her GP goes on about pap testing far more than about her smoking…but then our GPs get target payments for pap testing.
      It makes no sense from a healthcare point of view: smoking is far more concerning than someone refusing pap tests or should be…

      • BethK says:

        The need to doctor shop to find one who is even acceptable is time consuming and EXPENSIVE in the United States. That’s especially true in a rural area where doctors may be as little as 16 miles (about 30 KM), or more are 50 miles (roughly 85 km). Then, insurance won’t pay for the “new patient” charge – basically, a charge to set up a chart which may be negligable to $100 or more. When you’ve seen several doctors with the same complaint, and no treatment, you end up… explaining… excessively. I hope with the ACA, and insurance companies more motivated to go after fraud on the part of the caregivers, a lot of this screening coercion and refusing care until/unless it’s completed goes away, but I’m not holding my breath.

        The whole situation would seem absurd when applied to a visit to any other professional. Take an accountant or an auto mechanic. If the mechanic says he will not even look at my brakes until he’s been able to penetrate me sexually, or if the accountant says he will not do my taxes until he’s penetrated me sexually, I would have a case of (attempted) rape by coercion, as well as a complaint against either his mechanics or CPA license in the state. If a doctor says that he cannot evaluate my staph infection without a pelvic exam/pap results, he’s just “being thorough” and is taking care with my health. What’s the difference?

        I do smoke. It’s asked on the same questionaire that asks about my last pap and my periods and all that. If they mention smoking at all, they say, “Quit it!” No lectures to the exclusion of everything else.

        I have had plenty of bad experiences with doctors and hospitals. I may write up a long letter of “Dear doctor, this is why I don’t just trust you”.

        In my last pap, the doctor (a woman) asked if a (woman) student could watch. I agreed. Then, she was showing her what was what, and pointed out that I didn’t have a cervix because I’d had a hysterectomy! No I haven’t. I have a retroverted uterus, and the cervix is on the side, not in the center. I had to point it out, and “oh yeah”. I’d been seeing her for paps for several years, so what WERE they doing? A pap of the vaginal vault is useless. When I seem to know more about my anatomy than the doctor does, something is very wrong with this whole set up.

        …Then I started looking into it further, and know that these are WORSE than useless!

        Part of my experiences in hospitals are that my express refusals are often not adhered to, and what I didn’t want was done anyway. I keep learning more about what has to be documented, and how – and I’ve seen things that DID happen not documented. I’ve been injured more than once! I’m learning to document EVERYTHING for a potential court case. It’s a sad situation, and not one likely to produce any health care. So, I just take my chances and not get health care. Health care that gives me even basic human rights to bodily autonomy is unavailable.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        It’s incredible that many of us can’t get medical care unless we basically hand over our bodies to the medical profession. The questionnaires you complete, I can’t recall ever completing one, except providing basic information.
        One some US forums people complain about the information “required”, things like, “Do you engage in anal sex?”. What?
        In comparison our medical system is easier to negotiate if you’re informed and dodge the pap-zealots, it’s just that many women here don’t question the so-called established fact that pap tests are vitally important for all women. I think more are waking up though…

        When excess and non-evidence based testing and exams are the norm and there is lots of pressure to have them, some/many women fear moving away from them, “I haven’t had my ovaries checked in 2 years!”. Umm, I’ve never had my ovaries checked and never will unless I’m symptomatic and the exam/test is absolutely necessary. I don’t live in fear because of that decision, but I might if I’d been raised to view my ovaries as a threat to my life, something that needs regular checking.
        We often don’t question what has always been the case. An American colleague (here for 2 years) said she doesn’t like the way Australian doctors barely touch you, the consults are so brief, I think that’s a bonus.

        It’s a shocking thing when people have to manage without medical care because of the risks associated WITH medical care. I hope things improve in the States with all of the recent changes. I know my US colleagues (I see in HK from time to time) gave up US medical care years ago to avoid the well-woman nonsense, all had been traumatized by these exams and where they led…excess procedures.

  6. Jola says:

    Hi Everybody
    I am sending you something interesting. please, watch this. Cheers!

    https://w3.newsmax.com/LP/Health/BWR/BWR-Breast-Cancer-Video?promo_code=pfyipsfb

    • Alex says:

      Couldn’t get it to show up on my computer (it said something about the security certificate or something, so it’s probably just mine). What did it say?

      Also, you had suggested moving to the Czech Republic to me at one point & I’m still thinking of it, but I might not be able to get citizenship in the EU from my heritage (apparently, the Italian government considers the American Citizenship Oath to be voluntary renounciation of Italian citizenship, but I don’t know if that’ll get in the way of anything).

      Anyway, I was wondering if anybody you knew moved there & maybe had told you anything specific about actually moving & how it is there. I’ve been looking things up on & off, but it’s hard to find information about other countries in America, I’ve noticed.

      Hope all is well with you.

      P.S.- Someone on here had posted something about when they tried to make pelvic exams mandatory for employment in Poland & I told her that they TRIED, but it didn’t go that way- was that accurate or did I remember things wrong? Also, did they publicize that, like putting it on the news & in the paper or did they try to do things in a more sneaky way?

      • Jola says:

        Hi Alex

        The video is about how to avoid cancer – the main reason for cancer is SUGAR and GMO. It’s not only the breast cancer, but about all different types of cancer as well as other diseases. The doctor also said that oncologists don’t tell people not to eat sugar, especially people with cancer. They know that cancerous cells feed on sugar. Cheeky medical business. He also said that mammography is harmful as it gives a lot of radiation. So, the conventional medical procedures are for nothing. Whatever the cancer, we must remember that the main cause(s) of the disease is sugar and GMO.
        The doctor’s name is Russell Blaylock: http://www.russellblaylockmd.com/

        Alex, it’s not a problem to go to the Czech Republic or to Poland to work and live. You don’t need citizenship – later yes, but it’s unnecessary. There are so many native speakers of English going all over the world and teaching the language with no citizenship of the country they are going to.

        In Poland the former, unbelievably stupid minister of health wanted to impose such humiliating compulsion on women (the idiot – a woman herself! – wanted to impose it because she was pressed by the gynaecological lobby). It didn’t go through at all. We didn’t let that moron do anything. We sent the message about it all over Europe and the world. One Polish lady wrote a very moving petition to the now falling government of Poland. If I found more time, I would translate it one day – the petition is written greatly and worth being translated.

      • Alex says:

        Thanks, Jola. You know, I was just reading a book called Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagal & it mentions sugar as a major cause of tooth decay by throwing the body’s chemistry out-of-whack. Apparently, just like when someone is starving & the body eats its own tissues, teeth will degenerate from a lack of minerals. Sugar throws things out of balance, so the body draws from the teeth to even out the pH. Haven’t read all of it, but there was something to that effect in there. The industrially processed foods cause trouble wherever they go.

        There’s another one called Nutrition & Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price that is referenced heavily in that book & it seems that his findings were more or less swept under the rug around the same time as they started really fostering allopathic medicine & making all kinds of false claims to bolster its growth. The first one give more how-to advice, if you’re wondering.

        I’m glad to hear that it’s not so hard to get into the country. I guess I could just get a residency permit that’ll last for a few years or something? Either way, I guess the whole teaching language thing might work, although I don’t have any certification for that (then again, I guess I don’t necessarily have to- I’ve heard a bit about teaching it informally for some spare cash & doing that for a few people on their lunch break would probably help with finance & making friends).

        I hope you do translate & post that petition when you get the chance. I’d really love to read it. I know you don’t necessarily need other people to reinforce what you already know, but I think you’ll agree that it’s so helpful to see that you’re not “the only one that thinks the sky is blue.” I worry a lot about how things are going here in America & it gets to the point where I feel like I’m living enemy territory. Not quite the “warzone cliche” with snipers & landmines, but still an environment that is inhospitable. It’s not just general risk of life, or even like going parachuting- it’s more like someone cutting a whole in your parachute & acting like they didn’t interject anything on top of it.

  7. Moo says:

    I still find it strange that in some hospitals ALL surgery preps are asking patients to remove all clothing including underwear when the surgery is not that part of the body. I had minor day surgery procedures twice. I had both on my back. The first was very minor, a small incision only. The prep nurse was very upset that I would not remove my panties. She said if something happened and I had to be taken to surgery then they would have to cut them off to insert a catheter. Really? Then the surgeon showed up with a student to watch (they asked just then). I was bent over a gurney for the procedure with two male doctors behind me. Ok. I definitely was glad I kept on my panties. Bad enough I was in a hospital gown with people coming in and out of the area. Second time I kept on my shoes, shoes, panties and a skirt. The nurse said that I might get blood on my skirt. So what, I could wash it or get another. Why is the policy to remove all clothing? Even if someone comes I to ER and needs to remove clothing quickly they just cut it off.

    They want the underwear off so they can let students do practice rectal and vaginal exams. Why is anyone surprised at this? Otherwise why would the official medical bodies just have to make up some grand documents about their students having to get consent?

    • Jola says:

      Moo, we MUST ALWAYS REFUSE TO TAKE OFF OUR UNDERWEAR. You did a great job!

      What about the cases when we are under anaesthetic? Will those robots consider our written objection? They have no pangs of conscience! I believe we need to raise the concerns about this furtive and degrading procedure, here on this forum.

      • BethK says:

        We are under anesthesia, and they do practice vaginal and rectal exams, even though the surgery does not relate to anything like that.

        WE pay extra money for the anesthesiologist to keep us under longer. WE assume the increased risks from being under anesthesia longer.

        What do they call it when a vagina or anus is penetrated without consent? What is it called when that is done by multiple people? What do we call it when those multiple people as well as others planned in advance to penetrate the vagina and/or anus of a nonconsenting person? Oh yeah. Rape, gang rape, and conspiracy. The only difference between this and when it’s planned to do to some girl at a frat party is that the girl is not charged thousands of dollars for her rufie! Putting it in a medical setting doesn’t change the facts of the case. It seems to change the willingness to prosecute it.

  8. BethK says:

    If you don’t answer the question about whether or not you engage in anal sex, or (I presume) respond that you do, the records will show, “Counselled patient on the dangers of engaging in anal sex.” What???? They had no such conversation! Or, if you have some bowel problem which was caused by an early rape/mollestation, you WILL be counselled on how dangerous it is to engage in anal sex, and the records will show that anal sex was the cause of the problem. So, insurance may or may not pay for it – especially after the problem recurrs after they “counselled” the patient.

    What is this about women being upset that they haven’t had their ovaries checked in 2 years? The bimanual exam cannot papate the ovaries in any except the THINNEST women. They cannot examine them that way on a good 95% of women and girls. The real problem is that these exams are not even explained to women who get them, which completely negates informed consent.

  9. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    Ladies and gentlemen, what is your take on this? Hugs, Barbara

  10. HealthWise says:

    I think misogyny plays a HUGE role in the gyno realm. I mean, think about it. Isn’t it lopsided that there isn’t a routine once a year pap smear equivalent for men? Pelvic exam for men? How about a routine heart exam? I mean, heart disease is more common than cervical cancer. Then why on Earth are women forced and coerced into opening their legs once a year? It just doesn’t make sense. The tests are sh** and the whole thing is just laughable.
    Here’s where the misogyny kicks in:
    A while ago, perhaps 40 years or more, most gynecologists were men. If anyone would like to read some 1950′s-1970′s med school gyno text books, be my guest. You will find a plethora of sexist, chauvinistic teachings toward women.
    A little harsh you say? I know, I know, I’m starting to sound a bit feminist. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Obstetrics and Gynecology (1971) says:

    “The traits that compose the core of the [female] personality are feminine narcissism, masochism, and passivity.”

    http://upalumni.org/medschool/appendices/appendix-52a.html

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07399338809510813#preview

    • BethK says:

      MANY things are more common than cervical cancer! Kidney cancer is a rare cancer, but more common than cervical cancer. It’s devistating for the 20,000 people or so who get it, and it’s worse because it’s in a late stage usually when it’s detected. Asymptomatic people are not sent in for an ultrasound, MRI, or CAT scan every year to see if they have kidney cancer.

      Heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women. The cardiac risks and symptoms are never discussed, even if the woman asks about it. She may get a cholesterol screening and medications, along with advise to exercise, but that’s about it.

      If they were serious about early detection of health risks likely to be fatal, they’d give everyone an annual cardiac stress test and EKG every year. But, they don’t.

      BTW, men who receive anal sex from other men are told to consider getting an anal pap. This is DISCUSSED with the man, told the risks of having it and not having it, given his lifestyle choices, and he makes a CHOICE with the doctor, rather than being railroaded into getting undressed and prodded.

  11. Christine says:

    How someone could take the fact that people are undergoing penetrative “pelvic exams” without even their knowledge, let alone consent, and not immediately recognize that is rape is beyond me. Even if from an emotionally detached legal point of view, one should understand that that fits the definition of rape to a T. According to the article, it seems most doctors, and medical students apparently, never even consider that it may at least be unethical. I just have to conclude that doctors are freaking sociopaths; what other explanation is there?
    Also- I’ve been reading this site for a while now and just want to say thanks to the author and all you commenters. It’s a relief to know some sanity exists around these issues, no matter how rarely. Remember, for every person who comments, there are likely a ton of women like me who don’t. But we’re here and we’re with you.

    • Alex says:

      That’s what I tend to think. They act like they’re unaware, but that’s just a cover. They maintain a course of action that includes these details. They grasp the disparity between just raising their hand in the air & sticking their fingers into someone while they sleep. Their actions require orientation, basically.

      There’s probably all kinds of bullshit arguments about how someone being this way would be a good thing, but it’s counter-effective to quality medical care. It’s much like a disease that draws a paycheck.

  12. oia says:

    At-home self-test hpv tests are here! Obviously this article is anti-self-test and pro-pap/pro-”vaccine” BUT self-testing hpv kits are coming! I think this is a great step forward.

    http://www.designntrend.com/articles/14944/20140604/hpv-home-testing-kits-coming-soon.htm

  13. Emily says:

    and sh*t like this is the reason I avoid going to the ER at all costs. I just had my first UTI/bladder infection. Of course it was sunday so I couldn’t see my GP I adore who has been my dr since I was 14. I have issues with doctors and with being touched by people I don’t know. As soon as I got there before I even gave a urine sample the Dr who came in said “Well we better check you out. Go ahead and undress and put your feetup here.” My head started spinning and I nearly vomited at the thought of him touching me there.When I asked why he said. “Oh just to help us rule out anything else that might be causing this. It’s pretty standard.” When I refused he got offended. HE was the one who wanted to invade MY privates-my very sore privates-and yet he felt he had the right to be offended when I wouldn’t submit. I got tired of arguing with him and ended up walking out and suffering through the pain until the next morning when I could see my GP. After seeing my pain and a fever of 102 he said he wished I had gone to the ER. I was agitated and upset and started crying when I told him what happened. He shook his head, patted my back and said “I can’t say I blame you. That’s not really necessaryfor this and I think it would’ve irritated you more. You know your body and if you tell me something is wrong I’ll listen. I would never push you into anything that scares you like that just for the sake of investigating.” While we waited for the urinalysis results he gave me tylenol had me lay down. He turned on a fan and started sponging cool water on my face and then he *ASKED* me if he could unbutton my shirt to cool my chest down. Hmm imagaine that. A dr actually asking if he can do something and waiting for you to say yes rather than just assuming and doing it anyway. He got my fever down and after the urinalysis obviously came back positive he simply gave me antibiotics and a note to stay home from work. now THAT my friends is the difference between a doctor who listens and cares about his patient and one who just wants to accomplish his own goals. An excellent example of how annoyingly chauvanistic docs are when a woman can’t even get treated for a simple urinary infection without being invaded by fingers/tools for no valid medical reason.

  14. Kleigh US says:

    You do not need a gyn exam to test for a uti. all they gave me was a urin sample test. They assume some woman do not know there body and that all young girls are walking stds. I had a uti and if the clinic wanted to do a gyn exam for that i whould have refused to. on the other hand my aunt thinks she needs to see a gyn every time she gets a uti bc she thinks it has somthing to do with the vagina and her gyn has lead her to belive this.

  15. Alex says:

    A lot of times there seems to be an association with different things going on (ex: if someone IS a woman, she’s somehow inherently likely to get a problem that ONLY a woman can get). If there’s an issue in the chest area, that would probably get connected to a breast exam. If she was having ankle pain, that must be an inner thigh issue. Wherever she’s having problems, she should be completely naked to overlap that area.

  16. Emily says:

    On a side note sh*t like this is also the reason I haven’t pursued BC yet (and also why I keep telling the BF I don’t want kids). I don’t want some doctors hands/tools in that part of my body PERIOD. Is it so crazy to be revolted/terrified by the idea of someone I don’t know/love touching me there?Although they claim “it’s not sexual” it IS sexual for the woman because they are touching her sex organs and if someone invades/damages that part of her body for the sake of needless potentially harmful testing it damages her sexually. Right? It’s not just me being a paranoid weirdo right? When a woman’s doctor refuses to write a script or address another health concern without her submitting to an invasion of her body they seem to think it’s alright. However if a woman’s boss brings her into his office and says “We need to make some cuts and unless you have sex with me you’ll be let go.” he isn’t forcing her to have sex with him but he isn’t really giving her a choice either. Hmm…what do they call that? Oh yeah. RAPE. So when it comes to medical professionals somehow having a degree (or even being in the process of getting one) makes it completely okay?? Maybe I’m just young and naive but the whole thing just seems completely wrong and I hope that I can avoid anything gyn related for a VERY long time.

    • Well stated Emily! I was on birth control for a few short months but when I discovered I would need a pelvic/vaginal exam before I could get more I decided to stop taking them. That was years ago, and since hearing about the side effects of birth control pills I’m glad I had made that decision. There are other options available that seem far safer. You might be young but you are FAR from naive. Good for you to be questioning all of this! I don’t know if you’ve read some of the other posts on this blog, but if you check out this one: http://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/09/09/the-other-side-of-the-speculum-a-male-doctors-point-of-view/ you will see you are on the right track in relation to the sexual aspect. This one is also revealing: http://forwomenseyesonly.com/2013/04/19/sexual-abuse-under-guise-of-health-care-presents-barriers/ and this one: http://forwomenseyesonly.com/2013/08/27/pelvic-exams-and-porn-trigger-warning/

    • Alex says:

      You’re completely right about all that & maybe your youth gives you an advantage. I’ve noticed a lot of women from my mother’s generation seem like they’ll put up with absolutely anything as long as it’s not a backhand to the face or a dinner order!

      It’s not immature or otherwise defective to have bodily autonomy & self-protectiveness, just like it’s not stupid to think compositionally. A situation is what it consists of & this situation consists of an interface with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making, which is an attack. It doesn’t HAVE to go all the way to being penetrative to be a problem, but in this case it does.

      The additional ramifications (injuries, miscarriages, tests & surgeries over false results, complications with either, etc…), if realized, are aggravating factors. If someone were to say “let me play doctor on you or you’re getting evicted” that is a coercive attack. Same if they were to say “let me get a look at you naked or you’re fired.” That is, at a minimum, sexual harassment in the workplace.

      It’s actually illegal for them to back you into these things to get birth control, so you can probably force them to give them to you if you simply mention that (or demand that they put it in writing that they refuse to give you these pills until you get probed)- just try to get everything recorded like with a cell phone on “record” in your bag or one of those spy gadgets (which, by-the-way, doctors sometimes have pens that they wear as necklaces, camera watches, hidden cameras, etc…).

      It really doesn’t matter what’s legal & what isn’t, since anything at all can be sanctioned & you’re only dealing with actions anyway- but I suppose the legal term would be “coercive iatrogenic sexual assault & reproductive endangerment.” Overall, properties don’t change by designation- just like if a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder. What happens is what occurs & someone can’t accurately say otherwise. If they do, they probably wind up looking crazy, too- not a fitting quality to have in a medical occupation.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Hi Emily,
      I felt the same way, it’s one of the reasons I’ve never taken the Pill.
      There were significant barriers around the Pill in 1980, when I might have used it, almost all doctors were male and they would only prescribe the Pill after you submitted to pap testing (which is supposed to be an elective test and is completely unrelated to the Pill, it can never be medically required for anything) and a pelvic and breast exam, some tacked on a recto-vaginal exam as well, why not, when you can do as you please with the body of a woman who simply wants contraception?
      I did my research, knew these things were not clinical requirements for the Pill and refused to submit to what I viewed as an assault.
      I saw first hand the damage this coercion did to so many women. It was quite frightening and at 22 I wondered how I’d protect myself from doctors into the future with their “requirements”.

      I’m now 56 and have never had a pap test.
      We shouldn’t have to live around medical requirements/abuse, but the system leaves us little choice.
      You’re wise to question the whole rotten business of women’s “healthcare”. Being informed has protected me, doctors KNOW this is wrong so an informed woman tends to be treated with more respect and care. I know many women fear not having pap testing with all the “awareness” and scare campaigns, but when you have the evidence these tactics have no effect, I know the lifetime risk of cc, I know the lifetime risk of colposcopy and biopsy, I know what these things involve, so you’ll never persuade me to screen with a scary story about a woman who didn’t screen and got cancer etc.
      I KNOW…means it all falls on deaf ears, except to register, “they’re still lying to/misleading women…and treating us like ignorant sheep”.
      They rely on that ignorance to reach the screening target.
      A doctor can’t mislead or scare an informed woman, and coercion is likely to lead to a formal complaint, so it’s “unsafe” FOR THEM to treat informed women like members of the compliant herd. We might just bite back!
      Welcome to the forum.

  17. Diane says:

    Could this be the basis for a post? Here’s a great example of how the healthcare industry tries to advertise paps to women as “responsible.”

    I got this postcard from my health insurance company, LA Care. Yes, it’s ripped; I started tearing the postcard apart in disgust before I decided to take a photo.

    1. They are making women feel that they are empowered and are making conscious, informed decisions to do something when in fact they’re just being coerced and misled. They’re making it seem, through this ad, that paps = the only healthy choice. How about something that says “choose to GET THE FACTS about paps and whether you actually need one?”

    1. They are “choosing” paps to be the #1 health concern for women. I wonder why they aren’t telling women to choose to be concerned about heart disease, diabetes or ovarian cancer, which kill more people than cervical cancer ever will? The #1 killer of women is heart disease, and ONE IN FOUR have it.

    2. They are saying that getting paps carries the same magnitude as immunizing children. Sure, of course, screening for a rare cancer that affects less than 1% of the population is right up there with ensuring that your kid doesn’t get polio or measles! Got it!

    3. Of course, there’s the whole “over 21″ nonsense, when it has been proven that paps do nothing for young women; there’s also the whole “1-3 years” thing, which is also wrong.

    4. We could also point out that the whole “keep all your doctors appointments if you’re pregnant” line basically ignores women’s choice to receive their prenatal care from providers that are not OB/GYNs, such as Registered Nurse Midwives.

    At the same time they are wasting money to send out these postcards, they are completely tuning out the ACTUAL CANCER RISK that I have. I have a VERY strong familial history of skin cancer – it appears on both sides of my immediate family – and I have Type 1 skin, which is the highest risk. My grandmother got skin cancer from walking 5 minutes to work every day, so even without sun exposure, I’m in trouble here. I have been told that I need to see a dermatologist and get checked for skin cancer regularly because I have such high risk. I’ve been trying to get a referral to a dermatologist and get my insurance to take this seriously, and they won’t listen to me.

    I guess what this postcard means, then, is “choose to care about a specific isolated, rare cancer and get a useless, invasive and humilating test; choose to ignore the illness you might actually get.”

  18. Alex says:

    Everyone, you might want to check this out: Go to kevinmd.com & read “Man sues hospital for a forced rectal exam.” We’ve touched on the story before, but look at the comments. Holy shit, so many of those doctors are so appallingly arrogant it’s a suprise their head hasn’t exploded!

    It got to the point where someone actually said “The trauma room isn’t your private doctor’s office and you don’t have an unlimited right to decide what will and won’t be done to you there unless you check out AMA. And if you are intoxicated or are behaving unreasonably and are screaming “don’t touch me” at the top of your lungs, the staff do not have to follow your instructions on how to evaluate you or how to practice medicine in any other way.”

    (1) Now, if someone is screaming at the top of their lungs “don’t touch me,” this somehow indicates something OTHER than refusal? Maybe someone should say “no” in a quiet tone so that it’s easier to deny that it happened later on? Maybe it makes sure that someone that would help them doesn’t hear what’s going on, so the assailants are left in peace?

    (2) Them deeming something “unreasonable” or someone “mentally unfit” when their actions are refused is a fairly simple tactic & a huge conflict of interest- especially considering that it outsources consent to the doctor.

    (3) A stay in the hospital is not supposed to be an act of persecution. They don’t decide that someone has some kind of strike against them for being in the emergency room & now they’re getting deprived of something. This goes for everywhere else in the hospital, as well. Considering that someone generally gets BROUGHT to the emergency room, they can’t even make the point that it’s their fault for coming there- but they shouldn’t be generating an inhospitable environment in the first place.

    (4) If they feel that they have the right to include iatrogenic attack in their methods of practice, they are unfit for medical service. If they feel attacked by the patient comporting their own medical situation, particularly in regard to what is inserted into them, that’s too bad. I’d say it’s good for them to suffer through this pain, but it’s better to not have someone like this in a position to access the patients & do them damage. If this is their alignment, they’re actually a very unsafe factor for the general public, as well.

    (5) Hypothetically, if they thought that reality took a coffee break for them or simply didn’t apply in a medical setting, they’d be crazy & unfit for medical professions because of that. Since they obviously do grasp when something isn’t going their way, formulate countermeasures, and even try to implement them- this points to antagonism, not to insanity.

    Any thoughts?

  19. Emily says:

    Okay so now I’m a little freaked out because today I got a flyer in the mail similar to diane’s but I didn’t even bother taking a picture before throwing it into my firepit and burning it (:< "YOU ARE DUE FOR A PAP TEST" "SCREENING SAVES LIVES" blah blah blah. My thoughts were: "F*ck you people! I'm not "due" for jack sh*t until I am d*mn good and ready!" I'm only 24 and the BF and I were both virgins when we started dating almost 4 yrs ago and we always use protection. I can't help but feel a little scared though…what if I do get pregnant? Also my great-gram and my gram both had cervical/uterine cancer…nothing wrong w my mom so far other than benign cysts/polyps but she told me about what they did to her to find out that those were no big deal and what they did while she was giving birth to me and my brother (via c-section after horrendous difficulties w him)…I don't think I could stomach that. ANY of it. Now I'm just kinda depressed…i LOVE kids and I really would like to have a baby but not if it means having my bodily integrity violated on a regular basis. -SIGH- it seems like a no-win situation ):

    • Alex says:

      Emily- You could just have kids naturally. There are numerous books on the subject & ones about more self-sufficient care of your health, too. Rosemary Gladstar has a bunch of good books, just to get you started. I was actually just reading Birth as an American Rite of Passage & it might be a book that you’d be interested in since it gives a lot of information about the underpannings of things in that situation. Not especially hard to understand what they’re saying, but more than a few parts are a rough read- just to give you a heads-up.

      You’re right, “due” implies that this has been established & is already set down. This is an outside orchestration of a penetrative situation. One word of advice, though: You really don’t need to explain anything to them. Ultimately, they’ll either try to shoot down whatever you say or they’ll try to lie & trick you into things. I know you didn’t mean it as leaving it up to them, but they try to “grade” people’s conclusions & decisions all the time. It really is like they’re trying to crawl into someone’s skin (or other areas, a bit more literally).

      As for cancer- it seems that it has a MASSIVE amount to do with lifestyle & a little to do with genetics. Keep in mind: They misdiagnose things all the time & with everything. This particualr subject tends to have a “cut it out, just in case” manner of response. There’s also plenty of financial incentives (which I’m not all that knowledgeable about, but other people on here are). I definitely remember a situation which amounted to “Hey, you want an organ removal with that?” Very creepy.

      However far back you want to trace blame (your mother’s generation, her mother’s generation, etc…), you still have to worry about what your own situation is. Some people really just keep arguing even when they’re wrong or keep asking you “why?” on something even thought you’ve given the answer. Don’t be too distressed- an action has to be ENGAGED in order to occur, so these things aren’t just going to mystically appear.

      What does your boyfriend think of all this? He might be very supportive & it could suprise you. Keep in mind: You might need to elaborate on dynamics a bit, since it might be in the mental “Non-Issues Bin.” Dynamics don’t change because standards do & sometimes you have to prove reality to people. If you need any help with getting things across, I’ll be glad to provide advice. With men, it’s important to be direct & unsubtle, as well as persistant. Also, the point of “How would you come to know something?” tends to come up. You’re notifying him that this IS the situation.

    • Diane says:

      Yikes, if you are in the USA, it would seem that a postcard that said “you are due for a Pap” would totally violate HIPAA privacy regulations. They’re not supposed to be disclosing anything about your medical records – including whether you are due for exams – to the general public, and if it’s on a postcard, anyone can read about it. If you ever get another postcard like that, please save it and make a complaint to HIPAA.

      http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/

      And in terms of having a baby, there are nurse midwives and doulas out there who will NOT violate your privacy the way an OB/GYN would. You just have to find them,

  20. Emily says:

    Thanks alex I feel a little better now (: btw I did read that article you posted (i even found a more detailed version) and yeah I agree that’s pretty creepy. The most puzzling part of it is that no one seems to know/understand his mental capacity. If a man is coherent enough to say “No, please don’t do that.” and fight back when a doctor does something he doesn’t want he is obviously able to also perform other tests and answer questions that would have rendered a rectal exam useless. Also people who are not mentally sound are generally not penalized for such things.To arrest him and hold him accountable implies that he was cognizent and aware of what he was doing. So he was not cognizent enough to know/communicate the extent of his injuries yet he was cognizent enough to be responsible for the damage he caused fighting against his attackers?? How can it be both ways?? Oh wait I forgot reality doesn’t apply when it comes to doctors….riiiiight.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this article and the website. Finally other women are starting to speak UP!

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