According to HHS, hospitals must obtain written patient consent for pelvic exams

The Health Ministry said on Monday that hospitals must obtain written informed consent from patients before undergoing sensitive examinations – such as pelvic and prostate exams – especially when patients are under anesthesia.

A 2020 New York Times investigation found that hospitals, doctors and doctors-in-training sometimes performed gynecological exams on women under anesthesia, even when those exams were not medically necessary and the patient had not approved them. Sometimes these exams were conducted only for the training of medical students.

On Monday, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, along with senior officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the department’s Office for Civil Rights, sent a letter to the nation’s teaching hospitals and medical schools denouncing the practice by doctors and students who carry out these tests without express consent.

“The department is aware of media reports and medical and scientific literature highlighting cases in which patients were subjected to sensitive and intimate examinations as part of the study and training of medical students,” the letter said. “It is critical that hospitals establish clear policies to ensure that providers and trainees performing these exams first obtain and document informed consent.”

The department issued a series of guidelines clarifying that hospitals must obtain written informed consent as a condition of participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

“Patients participating in the training of future clinicians should be aware, they should have the opportunity to give consent, and they should be given the same opportunity to participate in this training that they would receive if they were awake and would be fully clothed,” Ashley Weitz said. who underwent an unauthorized gynecological examination while under sedation in an emergency room. “We can only expect…

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