Really Protect Patients?
Many people falsely assume that
patients will be protected from sexual abuse and wrongdoing by a
doctor if a nurse or medical assistant is present. But is
this really true?
Many doctors especially male doctors will have
a nurse or assistant present for intimate exams such as breast,
pelvic exams, and pap smears. The chaperone is the doctor's employee
so she looks out for him and she will often defend him even when
he does something wrong. Keep in mind that the nurse or assistant
is there to "protect" the doctor and is rarely on the
patient's side. There have been cases where female patients felt
the male doctor went too far, but the nurse or assistant felt he
was simply doing thorough examinations. One lady who was very upset
that a male doctor did a rectal exam and a pap smear without her
consent talked to the nurse who was present about her concerns.
The nurse defended the doctor by saying that he did very thorough
exams. Based on some research, male doctors tend to take longer
than female doctors on breast and pelvic examinations. There was
one case where everything happened so quickly that took the nurse
off guard and she was not able to report what happened until the
female patient left.
There are times a nurse or assistant may know that
the doctor is doing something wrong, but she may be afraid to expose
his criminal activities for fear of being fired or facing discrimination
in the workplace.
Even in cases where a state medical board mandates
a chaperone as a result of a doctor’s sexual misconduct, the
chaperone is not directed to intervene if misconduct occurs, but
only to observe and report to the medical board. This is not good
because sexual abuse should be prevented in the first place.
Nearly half of all doctors sanctioned for sexual
misconduct still practice. Even doctors who lose their licenses
for sexual misconduct can often get them reinstated after a year
It's hard to collect the evidence to support one's
suspicions, and without evidence victims feel powerless. It usually
takes many years for a male doctor to be arrested for wrongdoing.
For example, Dr.
Levy secretly took pictures of his patients for a long time
before he was arrested. He was a very popular OB/GYN who delivered
many babies and helped a lot of women with female health problems.
Think about how these patients are further violated by having their
nude images being viewed by teams of police personnel.
Important Facts About Chaperones
To Keep in Mind:
1.) A nurse / assistant cannot help
to chaperone a doctor's mind. She cannot control his lustful thoughts
as he does intimate examinations on women. The male doctor could
be enjoying the exam as though he were looking at pornography or
a strip show, and then fantasizing about it later on after he leaves
work. It is very normal for men to be aroused by seeing naked women
and a male doctor is no different. No amount of training can take
the "man" out of a male doctor. No matter how professional
the male doctor is, there is no chance that he could stay pure in
his mind 100 percent of the time. Look at all of the sexual misconduct
cases involving male
OB/GYNs in the news.
2.) A nurse / assistant rarely will
advocate for your wishes.
3.) A nurse / assistant rarely helps
to prevent sexual abuse. Abuse usually happens so quickly.
4.) Doctors are able to get away
with more unnecessary invasive exams if a nurse or assistant is
present without getting in trouble.Why would the presence
of a nurse make acceptable any exam that bears no relevance to the
patient's presenting concern? Here are two examples to
consider: 1.) Breast and external genital exams performed by an
endocrinologist on a woman presenting for suspected Hyperaldosteronism
would be inappropriate with or without the presence of a nurse.
2.) Breast exam performed by a doctor on a lady who has jaw pain.
The best way for women to
prevent sexual abuse by doctors is to only go to a female doctor
for intimate female health issues and to not let a male doctor see
any parts of her body that are covered by a two piece bathing suit.