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Doctors may be required to get patient consent for pelvic exams during surgery

Savanah Harshbarger estimates she performed as many as 10 pelvic exams last year on patients before gynecologic surgeries, feeling for fibroid tumors or other abnormalities. The Duke University medical student said the experience was a revelation. “It’s pretty empowering to know this is something you can detect with a gloved hand instead of needing an MRI or some more expensive procedure,” Harshbarger said. What was not always clear to her was whether the patients had agreed ahead of time to have a student do the exam while they were under anesthesia. The consent form, Harshbarger said, “definitely does not mention any specific things a student might be doing. It’s fairly vague language.” Lawmakers in a number of states n ...
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