January 15th, 2021

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Operating Room Team Member Attitudes Towards the Performance of Pelvic Examinations Under Anesthesia on Female Patients by Medical Students
Authors:  Elizabeth Rice, D.O., Chase White, M.D., David Jaspan, D.O., and Jay Goldberg, M.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To determine perceptions of operating room (OR) team members regarding medical students performing pelvic examinations on anesthetized female patients.

STUDY DESIGN: A survey was distributed to OB/GYN Attending and Resident physicians, OR nurses and techs, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, and medical students. Characteristics between the respondent groups were statistically compared using χ2 test for independence and Fisher’s exact test.

RESULTS: A total of 337 surveys were completed; 72% believed permission should be obtained prior to the performance of pelvic examinations under anesthesia (EUAs) by medical students on anesthetized female patients, 30% believed prior consent was usually obtained, 50% believed patients would agree if asked, 80% thought patients would be upset if they became aware that an EUA by a medical student was performed on them without their prior consent, and 32% of nurses believed students should be allowed to examine anesthetized patients. Medical students were less likely to believe it was appropriate for students to examine patients, that there was any educational benefit, and that patients would consent.

CONCLUSION: Despite the overall perception that consent should be obtained before medical students examine anesthetized female patients, this does not usually occur. Only 53% of medical students would recommend to their female rela-tives to allow such an examination.
Keywords:  anesthesia; education, medical/ethics; ethics, institutional; ethics, medical/education; exam under anesthesia; gynecological examina- tion; gynecology/education; informed consent; medical student; pelvic exam; students, medical.
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