Friday, August 1, 2008

why can't they be like midwives?

Did everyone see the story about the woman who is in litigation against a surgeon who put a temporary tattoo on her pelvis without consent? I saw the original link at Davka's Deer Girl Medicine and both her comments and those at the original article were pretty much a consensus of enraged shock. I totally agree, but I hope that's obvious.

I saw a link today in a tweet from The Bloggess referencing her co-mommy-blog and I clicked through to look for updates and see the Good Mom Bad Mom blog for the first time. In the comments I found a link to something the commenter called worse than the tattoo violation. When I clicked the link, I wasn't prepared for a story that made me nauseous with anger.

It is common practice for interns and medical students to perform pelvic exams on women under anaesthesia.

Perform pelvic exams on women under anaesthesia.

The women are not told that this will happen, and administrators apparently feel that the general consent for for surgery covers this practice. I am so shaken by this I can't express... I'm also wondering that if this is common, then maybe my unconscious 19 year old body, with its deformed vagina was probably used as a teaching tool. I'm not going to freak out and assume that was the case, but I am furious that this has ever happened to anyone anywhere.

I have happily agreed to let students join a physician in my treatment when I was conscious and aware, and then I specifically told the midwives and nurses when Molly was born that I wanted no students anywhere
near us at that time. It never occurred to me, and it should not fucking have to, to request that my sex organs not be touched unless medically necessary while I am under sedation.

I am fucking done with medicine in this country. I have to mortgage my goddamn house to be seen on a "sliding scale" at a clinic where I am assumed to be undereducated if not outright stupid. I have to do my own research in advance before I ask for any medicine because the doctors are so out of touch with the normal functions of my body that a slacker artist knows more about safe breastfeeding practices than a trained DO or MD. When I went to them for panic attacks and told them that Xanax helped during my last bad episode they told me the street value is too high and it's against policy so they threw Klonopin at me even thought it doesn't work. I have to fight uphill battles every fucking well baby check to convince them that "small and slender" is not a childhood disease.

I'm sick of having to fight for information, and for bodily respect. I'm sick of my choices being marginalized and of having to ask for basic human rights. Where has this system gone when I have to specify "do not touch my body in a way unrelated to treatment while I am incapacitated?" I'm sick to fucking death of stories like my brothers' and Bu's about doctors on ego trips verbally abusing their "inferiors" and tech contractors.

Why can't they all be like Hawk, who offers helpful ideas to some woman with a weird eye affliction his wife knows only online and with whom he has never even spoken? Or my old doc who left the white water rafting scene in WV for the one in Colorado who was so straight up with me and respectful and comfortable? Or my awesome midwives- why can't they be like midwives?

*Edit* Removed dumbass language about being a virgin at the time of my surgery, which is irrelevant and sets up false value of not-"deflowered" vaginas. I love calling me on my own bullshit:)


  1. "The street value is too high"?! So they automatically went to "You couldn't help but be a drug dealer if we gave you medication that might help you".

    Insane. All of it. Insane.

  2. OMG. I have never heard of this but you KNOW it rings true, because why fucking would they not do a pelvic exam for shits and giggles and the education of more shitty doctors while you are in for setting a broken arm....

    So angry.

  3. @Jenny

    Yes; it's infuriating. And also pointless, as I sold my Klonopin to buy black market xannies. Actually, I didn't- it just occurred to me. I should have, though:)

    This is just the kind of bullshit I put up with being uninsured and poor but smart, dealing with a system that seems to assume poor = uneducated = stoopid.

  4. @Sugared Harpy

    Yeah, I'm pissed the fuck off. Will post if I can think of an appropriate action to take... like do I go picket the AMA? Maybe let's do that.

  5. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!

    (And I don't mean that in a good way.)

  6. Hawk says: "The doctor going gyn surgery routinely will do a pelvic exam as part of the overall treatment. If the student or resident is there, they might watch or participate in some way. I never did one (pelvic) on anyone under anesthesia and I don't know of anyone who 'learned' that way."

    He's also still concerned about your eye. When I said it hadn't resolved, he started thinking again. ;)