Plastic pelvises do not prepare doctors for real ones

  • Julie Kesti
February 17, 2010

I’m writing in response to the Feb. 17 article “Med School changes pelvic exam instruction.” I’d like the Medical School to reconsider this change.
I’ve heard from a friend who knows women who have worked as standardized patients in this setting and how they were able to give extremely helpful feedback, such as, “It would help if you didn’t rub my knee while inserting the speculum.”
I also heard from another friend who cited how a lack of training with real women affirms her choice to get reproductive care from certified midwives versus doctors, whom she feels have more sense of how to better interact with female patients.
I recall clearly the difference between a terrible, even painful pelvic exam and one that, although not pleasant, made me feel safe and respected, with simple things such as a warm speculum. I highly doubt that a plastic model will suggest that a doctor-to-be learn such techniques to make an uncomfortable experience more tolerable.
In an era where women’s bodies are continually objectified and encouraged to look more and more like a Barbie Doll, it is truly disturbing to see our bodies being literally replaced with plastic dolls in the training of the professionals who will care for our bodies.

Julie Kesti
University graduate student

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