Sexual Misconduct By Doctors

Tips For Male Teenagers To Prevent Sexual Misconduct By Doctors

Girls are much more likely than boys to be sexually abused in medical settings, but that does not mean that boys are not at risk of being sexually abused too. Boys are less likely than girls to report sexual abuse. Sexual abuse in medical settings is more common than many people realize. Some examples of sexual abuse cases include: a pediatrician, Dr. Levine, a learning disabilities expert who was accused of sexually abusing 5 boys and a pediatrician and sports medicine specialist, Dr. Van De Loo who sexually abused some boys during sports physicals.

Important information about patient modesty concerns: Most adolescent boys are embarrassed to have genital exams. For most boys, a male physician is less embarrassing than a woman. There is an increase in female doctors and nurse practitioners doing genital exams on adolescent boys. Another problem is that male doctors often have female nurses as chaperones for male genital exams and that makes the embarrassment much worse.

One health outcomes researcher did a survey with a group of men and 10% of them reported inappropriate touching and comments during a physical exam at some point in their lives. In this survey, the most common groups to be exploited were (1) young naïve teenagers, followed by (2) young men in their 20s getting their first required physical for employment, followed by (3) men getting their 3rd or 4th Digital Rectal Exam (DRE).

Research of medical board cases and newspaper accounts shows occurrences of sexual abuse by doctors and nurses. Additionally, there are many unreported cases because patients are afraid to speak up about the abuse they experienced. Some feel it would be pointless to report sexual abuse in medical settings because they know that it is very easy for doctors and nurses to get away with wrongdoing. Most men would be too embarrassed or ashamed to report sexual abuse by a medical professional. Others may not know how to file a complaint. Consequently, some doctors who have committed sexual misconduct have continued to practice. . One female ENT doctor abused a number of male patients under anesthesia by performing non-consensual genital exams on them. There is absolutely no reason for an ENT doctor to do genital exams on patients anyway.

1) We advise boys to find male doctors, especially urologists for intimate procedures.

Look for a male doctor who is sensitive to patient modesty and protecting your privacy and dignity as much as possible. Consider interviewing a doctor to see where he stands on patient modesty and dignity before allowing him to perform intimate examinations and procedures on you.


2) Refuse Unnecessary Intimate Exams.

Keep in mind that genital exams are often unnecessary unless you have urological symptoms or a genital injury. You have the right to refuse genital or rectal exams at any time. There is no need for genital exams for sports physicals even though they are typically done. You really only need a genital / hernia exam if you have symptoms.

Do not allow yourself to be pressured into having a genital or rectal exam at any doctor appointments. Some male patients have gone to the doctor for other health concerns and were coerced into having unnecessary examinations. For instance, if you have a sore throat, don't allow a doctor to lecture you about how important it is to have a genital, prostate, or rectal exam and that you need one today. If something like that happens, tell the doctor you are not interested and you only want to talk about the reason you came (ex: your throat is sore).


3) Take along a parent (preferably your father) or another trusted person for doctor appointments that require genital or rectal exams if possible - not only for protection from potential sexual abuse, but to act as another set of eyes and ears to help listen and remember everything you need to know regarding the reason you are actually there.

Having a nurse or an assistant present in the room with the doctor doesn't guarantee that nothing inappropriate will happen to you. Remember that the nurse or assistant is present to "protect" the doctor and will often side with the doctor. If the doctor refuses to allow the person of your choice to be present, walk away. It is also recommended to record interactions with the doctor and other medical staff.

4) If you are uncomfortable or frightened with something that is happening during an exam or procedure, speak up and stop the exam or procedure.


5) Don't undress or put on a medical gown when it is unnecessary and/or you feel uncomfortable.

Most procedures and tests such as blood tests, blood pressure tests, stethoscope heart exam, eye, ear, nose, throat examinations, leg ultrasounds, and many other procedures can be done fully clothed. You should think in advance about what parts of your body the doctor should examine and dress accordingly. For instance if you have a knee problem that you want the doctor to check out, you should wear shorts instead of pants.

You should think in advance about what parts of your body the doctor should examine and dress accordingly and ask specifically what the procedure and test will consist of. For instance if you have a knee problem that you want the doctor to check out, you should wear loose shorts instead of pants so you would not have to take any of your clothes off in the doctor's office. Another example is that leg ultrasounds will be conducted from the foot to the groin. So wear loose-fitting shorts that you can pull up at the leg.

6) If you are going to be put under anesthesia, you should insist that you have a family member or a friend present for your procedure to protect you.

Patients who are under anesthesia are very vulnerable because they have no control over what happens. Many patients are unnecessarily stripped naked for surgeries. One male patient had his gown and underwear removed after he was put under anesthesia for hand surgery. The only reason he found out was because he woke up in middle of the surgery. We encourage all surgery patients to opt for local or regional anesthesia without sedation whenever possible. Check out Why You Should Have a Personal Advocate For Surgery?

7) Insist that no urinary catheter be inserted unless it is absolutely necessary.

Too unnecessary urinary catheterizations are done. If you must be catheterized, you have the right to ask for a male nurse to do it.

8) Insist on a male ultrasound technician for scrotal or leg ultrasound if you are required to have one.

9) If you must be hospitalized, it would be best if you could have someone not employed by the hospital present with you, at least most of the time, especially when you are asleep or drowsy.

If you are married, it would be best that your wife assist you with bathing. Many men are more comfortable with their wives bathing them than a nurse. Go somewhere else if the hospital won't accommodate your requirements for a support person.

10) Be clear with communicating your intimate boundaries.

Medical staff will often not tell you in advance that the procedure or test will involve intimate access. For example, leg ultrasounds will often go from the foot to the groin and involve contact with the wand very close to the genital area.
When undergoing a leg ultrasound, medical staff may tell you to remove your underwear. You can refuse to do so because this procedure can be conducted with underwear and loose-fitting shorts on. You may have to pull them up at the leg.

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