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Dear Male Readers: Doctors don’t strip their female patients

July 7, 2007

An exerpt from an awesome article about being a standardized patient:

Playing Doctor

Like many of the students, Dr. I was baffled by how to assess my
heart and lung function without breaching the fortress of my bra. Most
students, while listening through the stethoscope to my back, simply
worked around the bra. But Dr. I informed me he needed to unsnap it
(no, he didn’t use the one-handed technique). Then he stood in front of
me, looked at my gown like a colonel contemplating an incursion, and
struck. He peeled off the top of the gown, dropping it into my lap,
slipped the bra off my shoulder, and left me hanging while he
protractedly listened to my heart. (Dear Male Readers: Doctors don’t
strip their female patients.)

I sat there, as the tape ran,
debating whether to stop the exam. Sure he had on a white jacket and
was using a stethoscope, but in reality, Dr. I was no doctor, but just
a pimple-faced kid who’d taken off my bra. My pondering was interrupted
by an abrupt knock on the door. We looked over, and standing there was
the real doctor in charge of the program.

“No breast exam!” she
said firmly to Dr. I. He was left sputtering as she closed the door. I
redid my bra and put on my gown. Dr. I gamely tried to continue, but he
was so shaken he forgot to take my blood pressure, and before he could
get to my reflexes, an announcement over the PA said the time was up.
He had to put down his hammer like a contestant on Top Chef forced to drop the spatula before plating the side dish.

Apparenty at Georgetown they don’t practice patient exams until 2nd year. For all I complain about it, this definitely makes me feel more confident in my education. I mean, at least I don’t molest my patients. -Michelle

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