Proposed Bill Forbids Non-Consensual Pelvic ExamsMarch 27, 2019
Imagine how you might feel if you found out that your healthcare provider performed a pelvic exam, without your consent, while you were unconscious or under anesthesia. As disturbing as this may sound, this is legal in 45 states, including Maryland. Physicians are not required to obtain consent from patients to perform certain exams on unconscious or anesthetized patients. However, House Bill 364 would protect the rights of patients by forbidding physicians, students, and trainees from performing pelvic, rectal, or prostate exams on patients who are anesthetized or unconscious without written consent, or unless there is a legitimate medical reason to do so.
Heather Bagnall, D-Arnold, proposed the legislation to provide peace of mind for patients who may be concerned about certain examinations being performed while they are under anesthesia. For the most part, doctors and other healthcare professionals in Maryland obtain consent from patients before performing any kind of examination, even though it is not legally required. According to Bagnall, it also gives health boards the authority to suspend or revoke the license of a physician who performs these exams without consent.
Article Addresses Important Consent Issues
Bagnall filed the bill after reading an article in the journal, Bioethics, which stated that it is unethical to perform any type of exam without consent. The author of the article discovered that schools were allowing students to perform pelvic exams on women while they were under anesthesia. She went on to argue that there are no grounds under which this practice would be acceptable. The article sparked debate over consent issues. Eventually, Bagnall’s constituents began to express their concerns.
While organizations, such as the Maryland Nurses Association and the Maryland affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, supported the legislation, the Maryland State Medical Society, or MedChi, did not vocally support the bill during the hearing. According to Bagnall, she was contacted by the group about revising the language so that it was in line with the Society’s language, while maintaining the goal of forbidding non-consensual exams. Representatives from MedChi did not immediately respond with a comment.
If the law is passed, Maryland will become one of only five other states that forbid performing non-consensual exams on patients while they are unconscious or anesthetized. Other states include California, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Virginia.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect Victims of Non-Consensual Exams
If a healthcare provider conducted a medical exam while you were under anesthesia without your consent, you are urged to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible.
Our experienced team of legal professionals will examine the details of your case and determine whether your healthcare professional was negligent in any way. We will aggressively pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve, protecting your rights every step of the way. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.