Friday, April 24, 2009

Permission to touch?

I thought this post by the Traveling Midwife was rather interesting. This was my response....

Hunh. Great food for thought. I think I do ask permission but not in so many words. I think I have thought that if I explained what I want to do and you pull up your shirt or take your clothes off...well, that's permission. Or is it?

What do you think?


Jenny said...

When you are doing a pap, for example, and you tell your patient that you are going to touch them and they say "okay" then you are getting permission, even if you don't ask for it.

For me, to be in your exam room, implies that I am okay with you touching. I want to know where you're touching and why, but I don't think that I need to be asked if you can touch.

Awesome Mom said...

I think that permission is implied when the patient willingly gets up on the exam table after you have explained the procedure. Sharon mentioned measuring fundal height and when it comes time for that in my pregnancy exam my OB will say that she would like to take that measurement. It is then up to me as the patient to hop up onto the bed or not and if I do I am giving her permission to touch me. I think it would be a bit odd if she kept asking me for specific permission every single time she needed to touch me.

Joy said...

As a woman (not a medical professional at all) I think showing up for a pap or other appointment that requires some form of breast exam or pelvic exam is permission enough. ;-) That is what we're there for afterall.

Lauren said...

I agree with what was mentioned above by the other ladies. My issue was things like OB just doing things and not telling me during L&D. One thing that still has me fuming was when we just walked in, broke my water without telling me and walked away like he did nothing. Would it hurt just to tell me what he's going to do before he does it?

Anonymous said...

For most women it's probably not necessary as they are ok with it. For a few others though, asking them for their ok, is probably one of the most important things you can do! At the same time it will help them to create trust in you as their medical provider.
I personally dread these exams, they are more emotional than most can imagine - these exams are torture! Seriously! The idea that my care-taker assumes that s/he has the permission to do just about anything (they think is medically needed) just because I finally dared to step into the examination room, is extremely scary - so scary in fact that this would keep me from ever visiting my doctor.
Honestly, when you ask, you sure help a certain group of women more than you can imagine (and honestly, you don't always know who belongs to the survivors). This gives them a feeling that they are in control, that nothing happens without their approval, no unexpected touch, nothing they cannot stop. It helps certain patients to create trust they so much need to come back another time.
You might not have to ask "Is it ok..." but you could also say something like " I will now do this and that..ok?" And then wait for their consent (nodding, a yes, whatever)
I know, it must sound weird for a normal person but it is so incredibly important for others to go through this that I think it's really worth considering!