World

Students 'forced' to have weekly vaginal examinations

A college in Florida is being sued by two of its medical students for inappropriate teaching practices.

In their lawsuit against Valencia College in Orlando and three of its instructors, the students claim that they were forced to have weekly vaginal sonogram probes. These were performed by their student peers.

The procedure involved transvaginal ultrasound probes used to detect irregularities in the womb that could lead to fertility problems.

The lawsuit describes the probe as large and not recommended for women who have not had sexual intercourse.

The unnamed students allege that the sonograms were presented as being voluntary but that it soon became clear that it was not the case.

When the students protested the procedures, they were threatened with reduced grades and being blacklisted from potential employers. 

The process was ostensibly supposed to teach the plaintiffs how to perform the examination.

The lawsuit stated that a second-year student had told the students that they should undergo the transvaginal ultrasound procedures to become better sonography technicians. 

But the question has been raised why students were needed to be practised on when there was access to anatomically correct dummies and actual patients.

The lawsuit also outlined the discomfort that the students had faced during the sonograms and the lack of privacy.

"Plaintiffs would disrobe in a restroom, drape themselves in towels, and traverse the sonography classroom in full view of instructors and other students."

"A student would place a condom over the probe and then apply generous amounts of lubrication to the probe. In some cases, the student would have to sexually 'stimulate' plaintiffs in order to facilitate inserting the probe into plaintiffs' vaginas."

It is also alleged that one of the defendants made inappropriate comments during a probe session, telling one student that she was "sexy" and should an "escort girl"

A spokesman for Valencia College said in a statement on Monday (May 18): "Valencia College's sonography program has upheld the highest standards with respect to ultrasound scanning for educational purposes, including voluntary participation and professional supervision by faculty in a controlled laboratory setting.

“Nonetheless, we continue to review this practice and others to ensure that they are effective and appropriate for the learning environment."

 

Source: The Independent, NBC, CNN

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