Depending on the type of medical exam, doctors may need to touch a woman’s private parts. It is essential for girls and women to know what circumstances it is inappropriate for a doctor to touch private areas during a medical exam. The following are the eight things girls and women should know about when a doctor may touch private areas:
8. Must Doctors Check and Touch Your Private Parts During A Physical?
Understandably, girls feel violated when doctors touch their private parts during a physical. The experience can be traumatic and make girls feel as though it is medical rape. It is not uncommon for doctors to rape patients – discussion on doctor rapes patients in the next section.
Why do doctors touch your private parts? When you go to a healthcare professional for a pelvic exam, the doctor will have to examine your female reproductive organs and check for any gynecological problems. A Pap test might have to be performed to check for any signs of possible cervical cancer.
A pelvic exam is most recommended by doctors for when females turn 21 years of age. The exams are also recommended if females experience any symptoms such as:
- Missing their menstrual periods.
- Experiencing any severe menstrual cramps.
- Vaginal bleeding lasting more than 10 days.
- Pains in the lower stomach or near the vulva
- Any itching, burning, or unpleasant smell that comes with vaginal discharge.
During your physical, a doctor will ask you regarding your menstruation and your sexual activity. The doctor will then proceed with an examination, instructing you to undress and lie on the table, your feet raised up on the stirrups. The doctor will have a sheet to cover your legs and stomach.
7. Doctor Rapes Women
The most notable case of doctor raping patient was against a young and handsome surgeon and reality-TV star Dr. Grant Robicheaux. The Los Angeles Times reported that the doctor raped his patients by drugging female patients. In 2018, Robicheaux was charged with the sexual assault of seven women, and Riley was charged with five sexual assaults. Both have denied the accusations of nonconsensual sex and have both pled not guilty.
In a separate incident, the New York Post reported that a woman claimed a doctor raped her weekly. The woman was eleven years old at the time when she was admitted at Presbyterian Hospital Thursday in New York for anorexia nervosa. The woman filed a lawsuit at 40 years old against the city and the hospital, wishing to hold them accountable for the sexual assaults.
6. Can A Doctor Touch Your Private Areas?
Often after the medical touching, a girl may wonder if a doctor can touch her private areas. Medical providers and students in most U.S. states are legally permitted to enter operating and exam rooms and touch a female’s private areas for the purpose of performing a pelvic exam on anesthetized patients. They would not need the patient’s consent to perform the exams on the patients.
It is common practice for hospitals and medical schools to have their students touch a patients’ private areas for the purpose of medical exams e.g. pelvic exams. In most cases, it is multiple medical students who touch patients’ private areas without consent in the operating rooms. Although the students are being taught about how to perform these exams, they are missing a very important aspect, which is the patient’s perspective during the exams.
The United States has Federal, Tribal, and/or State laws that define sexual assault as a non-consensual act, including when the victim “lacks capacity to consent”. Medical providers might very well be engaging in sexual assault behavior when they penetrate their patient’s genitals while they are under anesthesia and unable to provide consent (except during medical emergencies which are life-threatening).
5. Doctors Raping Patients
On November 2, 2013, a doctor rapes his patient at the Ben Taub General Hospital. Doctor Shafeeq Sheikh came into his patient’s room three times in one night, and on the third time, the doctor rapes his patient. At the time, the female patient was unable to fight back or call for help during the medical rape because she was sedated and attached to machines. According to court records, the call button for nurses had also been unplugged. The morning after, the patient reported the doctor raped her and agreed to do a rape-kit test.
Jurors convicted the 46-year-old doctor of raping his patient, yet the doctor did not serve any prison time. Instead, the doctor faced a punishment of a decade on probation for medical rape.
Another incident occurred in Manhattan, when a prominent emergency room doctor was arrested and charged for masturbating on a female patient after giving her a powerful anesthetic.
When DNA evidence was found on the patient’s face, the doctor defended himself by stating that he had previously masturbated in the lounge before he went to treat the patient with some semen still on his hand. While the story made news everywhere and gained a lot of public attention, the case seemed brushed off by the medical establishment.
4. Why Do Doctors Touch Your Private Parts?
Before going into an exam room, you might ask yourself if it is normal for pediatricians to look at and your privates. During annual children’s’ and teenagers’ physicals, the exam room’s standard procedure entails a full body examination. This includes a checking of the genitals to see the child’s development through puberty. These exams tend to be brief, unless there is a complaint or issue a child might want to bring up.
During the standard physical, your doctor will be asking about your medical history and questions regarding your lifestyle. The doctor will be checking your body fully (including genitals, groin, and anal areas) for any types of possible growths and/or abnormalities.
3. What Do Doctors Touch Breasts During Exams?
Doctors may do breast exams in order to check that everything is normal. During the exam, doctors (or a nurse practitioner) will feel a woman’s breasts for any changes, such as lumps and bumps. Breast exams are not usually done for women until they are in their 20s.
2. What Do Doctors Do During a Physical for A Girl?
A routine physical for girls includes a vitals check, such as for blood pressure, respiration, temperature, and heart rate. Doctors might examine the girl’s extremities, skin, and skin as well for the possible sign of health changes.
1. Do Doctors Look at Your Privates During A Sports Physical For A Girl?
For girls’ sports physicals, doctors do not tend to do genital exams, as there is no reason for the exam to be done on girls for sports. A doctor’s physical exam on a girl basically involves checking and recording a girl’s height, weight, blood pressure, heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat. If a doctor looks or touches your private parts during a sport physical exam, there should be concerns.
If you believe a doctor inappropriately touched your private areas, please contact attorney Brad Nakase for a 100% confidential and free consultation about your rights.