Thursday, March 11, 2010

Anesthesiologists and Pelvic Exams

Thanks to the Anesthesioboist, the talk amongst anesthesia blogs is about--pelvic exams. I kid you not. Anesthesiologists are reminiscing about the first time they had to perform a pelvic exam as a medical student. (Notice I didn't use "romanticizing".) Over at I Used To Be Disgusted, Bleeding Heart describes how students and residents are invited into the operating room to practice pelvic exams while the patient is asleep under anesthesia, WITHOUT THE PATIENT'S CONSENT. Wow, they do things differently in Canada.

I figure I'll put in my two cents worth on this topic. That plus I've kind of dried up on printable subjects to discuss lately (personal issues that have preoccupied most of my awake, nonworking time keep me from thinking through on ideas lately). At my medical school in the Midwest, one of the GYN faculty was paid bonus money for allowing medical students to practice pelvics on her. You talk about A-W-K-W-A-R-D. I remember very clearly how she'd hitch herself up onto the exam table and plant her feet into the stirrups. Then she'd guide your trembling hands on the proper placement of a speculum. The worst part was how she'd verbally instruct you on a proper bimanual exam.

"Put your fingers right THERE. Feel that? That's my cervix. Feel how firm that is? Like the tip of your nose. Now move your hands over to the right. Squeeze your hands together. Ooh yeah. Not too hard. That is my right ovary you're squeezing."

None of us could really look her in the face after that. I heard she made enough extra money every year to jet off to Europe.

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