Unconscious Pelvic Exams - Feedback Friday

This may be old news to some of you, but I just wasn't able to fit this post in until now. None the less, it should be mentioned.

Did you know....Canadian medical students routinely practice giving internal pelvic exams while surgery patients are unconscious?

Yep, you can read about it here at The Globe and Mail.

Thoughts, comments, questions, reactions?


One of my Canadian readers gave us an explanation straight from a Canadian medical professional, her husband. Isn't the world wide web amazing?

"Yep. I am in Canada. And (her husband) went to the University of Calgary and just finished the three year program (it's year round) and then is now 6 months into his 2 year residency to be a family doctor.

Actually the way they learn how to do pelvic exams is that they have actors (and actresses) who play having something wrong with there parts. And those people have had many many exams so they know how it is supposed to feel. There are actors and actresses for all exams of any body part.

My husband asked the woman who had these exams how she got into it and she said she had started out having her knee examined and did that for years. And then one day someone at the university asked her if she would be willing to do pelvic exams and she said yes. (i can't image WHY but it's good that she is willing cause we ALL benefit that she and others do that.) They do get paid (it depends on the exam you get done now much).

Anyone who is getting something done like a D&C or anything else in that area is told up front that they will be having vaginal exams and if you are in a teaching hospital with residents, clerks or med students, then you are told up front that you may be examined by multiple people.

I'm not saying that nothing fishy happens cause let's face it there are Weirdo's everywhere (including the medical field) but those are soooooooooo not the norm AT ALL. Can you tell that article drives me crazy??? hahahahahahahahaha I've had to explain this to almost everyone I know since they know my husband was just in medical school. Did I explain it all well enough???


Thanks, Rhonda! This information should set many people facing surgery in Canada at ease. We will all be watching you tonight at the Olympic opening ceremonies!



  1. That's really disturbing. I tried, but I couldn't think of a better word than marzipanmom.

  2. I don't know the laws regarding medical practice in Canada, but that can't be done in the US unless the patient is informed.

    That's like being molested, even better...assaulted, while you're unaware.

    I wouldn't be having surgery anytime soon...that's for sure.

  3. Last time I heard of an American doctor doing this, he ended up in jail! Are Canadian women reading these articles?????

  4. I agree disturbing, uncomfortable, adding insult to injury, wrong......

  5. So, so wrong. Treating people without consent is wrong.

  6. That is so wrong! But the antagonist in me has to wonder how credible this med student's percentages are....flags go up when both 72 percent of med students asked had done this AND 72 percent of women would have agreed to have a med student do a pelvic while awake. Sounds like all of her info was based off of one clinic so who knows if it was an instructor's policy or the whole of Canada. Again, super wrong...but sounds suspicious to me. (Maybe I'm just to used to thinking in terms of U.S. Health care)

  7. What a violation! Just in shock at this!

  8. That story has a pretty high YUCK factor. :( In my former life, I worked in the OB/GYN world and this just shocks me.

  9. i am so happy to be in Germany.
    just thinking about somebody touching you in that way when you have no chance to stop it is horrible.
    a internal exam can hurt and they could hurt you and you would not know about it. just imagining getting a horrible infection because there was a small rip in the tissue...wow I have to stop think about all the things that can go wrong with a student that has no idea how and what he or she is doing...

  10. Wow, that's crazy! I noticed a lot of people said it wouldn't happen in the US, and the same goes for Australia. This is not something that is allowed to happen without prior consent. I'm shocked it's happening in Canada - I always think of Canada and Australia as being very similar, but they'd also end up in jail here. Disturbing is definitely the word that comes to mind

  11. Love you Anonymous! You are always so full of sunshine and light :)

  12. I have always been a major advocate for medical students being able to practice their techniques and skills on patients - how else do they learn? However, I have ALWAYS been informed up front that a student would be performing a procedure. I do not like the idea that physicians are "sneaking" in teaching moments without given consent. What's next, they'll practice removing the appendix since we don't need it? Unethical to the T!

  13. SO WRONG!!!! Remind me not to EVER have surgery in Canada! Thankfully there are Ethical Dr.'s and Med students who are willing to take a stand for what they believe! Oh, love your comment reply:)

  14. Okay my husband IS A resident. He just finished medical school. And he has never even been asked to do this. There are a few times when a pelvic exam does happen when someone is sleeping and it is only when someone is already getting something done to those parts and they have already been told ahead of time that it is going to happen to them. This is giving too many people to wrong idea and being blown up by the media to some disturbing thing.

  15. um yeah not a proud moment for Canadians.
    How do the Americans train in this area I wonder?
    Do they also do this and we just don't know about it?

  16. I am Canadian and was unaware until today that this is common practice.
    My family doctor is also my gynecologist and obstetrician. We are friends. I'm going to ask her her thoughts on this article.
    it's definately wrong and not one of our finer moments.

  17. apparently I have a lot to say today as it seems I am the only Canadian in on this discussion...
    when my father was an RT (respiratory technologist) it was at a student teaching hospital. It was public that students were involved in aspects of your medical care while you were there.
    I do believe it is noted on consent forms at time of admission...however I do not believe for one second that this does or should cover while under anaesetic that you will get a pelvic exam. ummm. no. you should have to consent to that. There's a difference between a student being present during a procedure and them actually doing a procedure you're not even actually there for.
    This is really bothering me, actually.

  18. The article had comments from several medical students and it sounds like the surgeries were in the ob/gyn department so they were supposed to be in this region anyways AND it is a teaching hospital AND a pelvic exam could only tell your student more about you as an ob/gyn surgical patient. Beneficial for you and the student.

    I grow weary of inflammatory articles like this.

  19. UGH........I think disturbing is a great word to describe how I feel also!!!!

  20. One of my Canadian readers just wrote back to me with her impression of the facts regarding this practice. I am awaiting consent from her to post her letter to me at the bottom of the post. But, in short, she feels that the facts in this article are blown out of proportion and not what they seem.

    This should put your mind at ease if you are facing surgery in Canada.

  21. I'm posting after the ETA, and that makes sense to me about the consent. I had my breast reduction done at a teaching hospital and I can not tell you how many people came in the room to "look at my nipples". All I had to do was say no.

  22. Jen, first off, I must say that I'm glad the "Name/URL" comment feature is back. I don't like using Google. Give it a try! But if you take it away again, I'll understand. LOL.

    Regarding the exams, I agree with one of the other comments. Practicing without patient care is a problem. I could probably make some sort of Canadian crack right about now, but you have to wonder if garbage like this goes on elsewhere too.


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