Feb 212013

“I have to do an internal ultrasound. It will only take a moment and it shouldn’t cause any discomfort, but if it does, please let me know. Would you like to insert the wand yourself or shall I?” – Ultrasound technician to mother who was not expecting to have a transvaginal ultrasound.

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 February 21, 2013  Thoughtful Thursdays, Ultrasound  Add comments

  13 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday! “…Would You Like To Insert The Wand Yourself…?””

  1. Would you like to insert the wand yourself is great. And I realize this might be shortened, but “I have to” should be replaced with I’m recommending.. for this reason… Do you consent?” Words are important and medical professionals should be in the habit of using them respectfully. So while this is good, I see room for improvement based on only this little snippet.

    • You beat me to it. I was thinking the same thing.

    • Good catch! Or even “I need to do a…for this reason. Do you consent?” would work too. It’s less harsh than “have to”, which implies there’s no way out of it. But all in all, a great Thoughtful Thursday. With 1 in 3 women experiencing some form of sexual assault in their lives, you have a 33.3% chance of encountering one of those women any given day. And many of those women might not have let their OBGYN know about it because they don’t remember specifically being abused. They just have these feelings and flashbacks that cause them to fear certain procedures. I’ll bet many of them would be so grateful to be offered some control over even one part of a procedure like this. It’s very smart and respectful.

      • Any given day or every single time they walk in an exam room they have that chance depending how busy they are or how often they see new patients. So many things are standard of care because a small percentage of women may have this or that without showing outward symptoms to their doctors (eye goop for babies and gd testing for example), but yet treating every single patient as though they might be the one in three who needs a bit of extra care is not standard. It really should be because even people who have not been abused don’t mind being treated with respect and asked for permission before procedures are performed.

      • With a cesarean rate of over 30% and this being a medical situation I’m more worried about medical abuse than about previous sexual abuse. Medical abuse taken place right that moment because the tech, doctor, nurse keeps forgetting that this is a human being who has choices. I see a big difference between if you want to see a heart beat I’m going to have to switch to vaginal over I have to and you don’t have a choice. Nothing to do with anything somebody doesn’t remember. I don’t think you have to be a sexual abuse survivor to recognize that it is your body and you have the right to decide what is done with it.

    • I interpreted the “I have to do an internal” here to mean “because I can’t do an abdominal at this stage.” Of course the patient has the right to refuse, but from the tech’s perspective s/he really may *have to* do it that way.

  2. Although this is not my post, this same thing did happen to me in my first pregnancy. I actually thought it was a bit off-putting, and would have personally preferred the doctor to do it, but it’s great that this woman got to choose what she was most comfortable with :)

    • I think being given a choice is optimal. I would have found it off-putting as well to have to do it myself. But at least with a choice, the patient can choose whichever she prefers. :)

  3. I didn’t have a choice for the tech to do it when I had one of these for a possible ruptured ovarian cyst. I went in thinking “ultrasound – outside the body” and then went to the room they have the equipment in and she tells me to go in the changing room and wrap the sheet around my naked lower half because it was transvaginal. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

    • That’s what I thought before my first (external) US for possible ovarian cysts long ago! I didn’t know there was such a thing, and when I found out it might be internal, suddenly I was scared. If I had to do that, and the tech was male, I would have had to request a female tech to do it. And that’s always uncomfortable to have to do, especially when they come back with the ultra moronic “Oh, don’t worry. I’VE seen everything!” like I give a rat’s butt what they think. Or that this has anything to do with THEM.

      Had my first internal US last month while getting an IUD, and it was surprisingly not that bad. My OBGYN did it, not me, but she would have let me if I asked. I was too distracted by how funny it was to watch her put gel in a condom and roll it on the wand. Didn’t know they did that either! LOL. My only beef with the US is my insurance carrier won’t pay its share of it…according to the records, they “don’t cover that.” HUH? I thought it was part of the procedure that they covered. How else do they expect her to know if she placed it right? Stick her head up there with a flashlight and take a look? Grrr.

  4. The US tech at my doctor’s office always asked this. This turned out to be a good thing, because the one time I said it was okay for her to do it, she tried to insert the wand without looking and rammed it into my pubic bone. I actually yelled and had to say “that’s not it!” before she noticed. You’d think that someone who does OB ultrasounds all day wouldn’t have such an issue with looking where she’s going…

  5. oh, I wish the tech had verbalized more with my u/s. I knew what she was saying, but since it was my first u/s my hubby was in the room (and my Mom) and so my hubby did NOT know what “transvaginal” meant lol

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