Suspicions have arisen around hospital culture in Sweden after it was revealed that several medical students had participated in a gynaecological examination without the woman’s consent.
The Local reports that the incident took place at a hospital in the Gothenburg, but fears have arisen that the practice may be widespread throughout the country. The case in question involved a suspected cervical cancer patient who attended the Ostra Hospital for a gynaecological examination and was placed under anaesthetic which rendered her unconscious for the procedure. During the assessment a number of medical students entered the room to examine the woman’s genital area.
However, the woman was not advised of the attendance of the students either before or after the exam and no such details were recorded on her hospital chart.
The chief of Ostra Hospital’s medical programme confirmed that several people were in the room whilst the patient was unconscious and gave assurances that the doctor who was responsible for the incident will face disciplinary action given that consent must always be provided by the patient in such circumstances.
The issue is not an isolated one, according to a newspaper source who claimed that it was commonplace for students to partake in gynaecological examinations without any notification to the patient. “This occurs systematically,” stated the source.
Medical ethics expert and professor of practical philosophy Christian Munthe believes that the phenomenon is likely happening across most if not all of Sweden’s university hospitals as a consequence of an outdated medical culture.