Medical students performing intrusive exams on unconscious patents

Medical students have traditionally learned their craft on cadavers and anatomically-correct models. This, of course, is necessary because most live humans are reluctant to having a whole class of future physicians poke and probe them. But cadavers are not ideal because, you know, they’re stiff and lifeless, they often smell bad, and they don’t respond to poking and probing like a live person. So how do you solve this dilemma? Well, if your healthcare system is run by the government, you simply authorize examinations on unconscious (and unknowing) patients (story here).

AUSTRALIAN medical students are carrying out intrusive procedures on unconscious and anaesthetised patients without gaining the patient’s consent.The unauthorised examinations include genital, rectal and breast exams, and raise serious questions about the ethics of up-and-coming doctors, Madison reports.

The research, soon to be published in international medical journal, Medical Education, describes – among others – a student with “no qualms” about performing an anal examination on a female patient because she didn’t think the woman’s consent was relevant.

Another case outlined in the research describes a man who was subjected to rectal examinations from a “queue” of medical students after he was anaesthetised for surgery.

“I was in theatre, the patient was under a spinal (anaesthetic) as well and there was a screen up and they just had a queue of medical students doing a rectal examination,” a student confessed.

“[H]e wasn’t consented but because … you’re in that situation, you don’t have the confidence to say ‘no’ you just do it.”

I can hear it now. “Hey doc, I just had gallbladder surgery and my bum hurts like hell. What’s up with that?” Oh well, just a conga line of med students curious about your sphincter – no worries. SHEEESH!

Carol Bennett, the CEO of the Consumer Health Forum, said the report was a “poor reflection on these medical schools that they are setting these examples”.

“Most people would not be pleased about having medical procedures performed on them without it even being mentioned to them,” she told

And the patient’s consent was “not relevant.”


2 Responses to “Medical students performing intrusive exams on unconscious patents”

  1. How true. If it was me, I’d be looking for a gun and a lawyer – in no particular order.

  2. ‘ A conga line of med students curious about your sphincter ‘ !!! … HILARIOUS Mook !!! … Well … If it ain’t you I mean ! …

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