Open call, please share and repost

I am busy reviewing and contributing to the second chapter of Our Bodies, Ourselves that was assigned to me. It is called “Unique to Women” and is about screening tests and medical procedures. I am trying to get through the technical side of writing this: checking on new screening guidelines, new screening tools, and such scientific type things. But, I really want to take into account the needs and points of view of many women, including disabled women, women of color, women from different cultural and religious backgrounds, women who are trans, men who are trans, women who are survivors of sexual abuse and/or assault, women who work in the sex industry, women who are polyamorous, women who are gay, women with piercings and tattoos, women of size, etc.

I am going to jot down items to look up. I already have some ideas. I know of many blogs out there for people with different disabilities, so I can search them for the easy to find encounters-with-medical-personnel horror stories. I know I can find plenty of health care practitioner bloggers out there (you know who you are) and submit something about a code green.

I am going to try to search out other stories on outlets available to me, but considering my short deadline, I would LOVE any voluntary submissions. The deadline is New Year’s Eve. I would love to continue the conversation past that point, but may not be able to submit anything to the publication. I am not a final decision maker editor, just a reviewer and contributor, but I will be happy to link to posts or publish them on here as comments, if people like. Or, you can email them to hilseb at gmail dot com.


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10 responses to “Open call, please share and repost

  1. Pingback: Open Call: Medical Screening Procedures Unique to Women | Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

  2. infamousqbert

    have you checked out kate harding’s “do no harm” blog?

  3. Tess Eract

    My last gyn exam was done by a young woman who was evidently trying for “Fastest Speculum In The West”. I ws just lucky that I saw her whip that thing out and was able to say in time that these days I prefer a small one and especially a short one.
    Medics, do ask if the patient needs a certain size; patients, do announce beforehand if you have special needs. Count yourself lucky if you found out about the latter by yourself, rather than having someone hurt you.
    Young girls should find out how to make sure they will be comfortable with something fitting into the vagina. If their mothers and teachers don’t tell them, who will? There is no need for either PIV sex to *ever* hurt–let alone make you bleed. And gyn exams should not hurt either.
    My other big beef is with those who look in your ear with that cone thing and decide to jam it in there so far it hurts. And don’t listen when I tell them to be more careful with the other ear. As you may guess, I am between doctors.

    • MomTFH

      Thanks for sharing. I am between doctors, too. I have this image of your gyn person with a gun belt with speculums in holsters – ha!

  4. doctorjen

    On speculum exams: For you as a clinician, I’ve found that just making a small speculum my default works fine for the grand majority of patients. On those rare occasions that I can’t visualize the cervix with a small, I apologize and switch to a medium or large as needed, but it happens rarely and than the grand majority of clients have a more comfortable exam. I also learned in residency how to do a speculum exam in left lateral position (my residency program director was trained overseas where he said this was standard practice) and many folks who have a hard time with lithotomy and stirrups do fine in left lateral position. I find this especially helpful on clients with mobility issues – either elderly women with arthritic hips or I also do routine care for a group of developmentally disabled adults. Placing the client on her left side with the knees and hips flexed as much as comfortable, but not abducted, and having a caregiver or my nurse sit in front of the client to be able to talk and offer comfort often works a charm. This is also a helpful position for anyone who is just uncomfortable and feels too spread out and vulnerable in lithotomy. I never tell anyone to “just relax” either. Instead, if they are anxious, I remind them that their body is right to protect them from unwanted intrusions, that it’s normal to feel awkward or strange, and that I will stop if they have pain and they have only to tell me. It’s rare for me to have to abandon an exam, but it the client tells me it hurts – I stop immediately and we figure out another plan. If you don’t have anyone in med school/residency who can teach you to do a left lateral exam, you might just ask some some comfortable patients if you can give it a try.

    • MomTFH

      As usual, your comment is pure gold, Doctor Jen.

      At the birth center where I trained, we only had the stirrups attached on one of our five exam tables in the clinic, and still, they were rarely used unless we were doing an IUD insertion or something like that. We found that we could do most things, like pap smears, gonorrhea and chlamydia testing, bimanual exams, fundal height measurements and the rare cervical check (we did most of those in the triage room in the birth center, a separate building, which had no stirrups anywhere) without stirrups.

      I would often tell the women, often uncomfortably pregnant, that they could lay in a lateral position in between procedures or while waiting for us to get ready, since they were often uncomfortable on their back. I also found that giving them the option of putting a fist under their back for lumbar support, or using a pillow or rolled up towel, helped with the discomfort of the position.

      However, we did everything in a modified lithotomy position, with the women’s feet a the base of the table. I would love to learn how to use the left lateral position. What a great idea.

  5. Echo the First Do No Harm blog. Interesting stories there.

    Also, if you are looking for poor treatment stories, you can click on the horror stories section of my blog. Fasten your seatbelt.

  6. MomTFH

    I will check out both.

  7. Pingback: Better living through e-Books « Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction

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