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DocSpot: Dodgy doctor

Dear Dr Margaret
I am 24 years old. I have irregular periods and have been taking a homeopathy treatment. The doctor, who is male, examined my stomach with bare hands. He pressed my stomach and then put his hands inside my panty and touched my pubic hair. Am I being sexually abused by him?

From what you say, I am not quite sure whether this ‘doctor’ is a proper doctor who also practices homeopathy, or just a homeopathic practitioner who is not a qualified doctor. If he is just a homeopathic practitioner, he should not be examining you.
 
A doctor who needed to examine the abdomen would proceed as follows. You would be asked to lie on the examination coach, having been told how much of your abdomen you need to expose. For example, you may be told that you can leave your knickers on, but please take your skirt off.
 
Doctors do not normally wear gloves to examine the abdomen; they use bare hands. (They would wear gloves for examining the genital and anal regions.) As part of the examination, the doctor may need to feel the groin area (perhaps to see if any glands are enlarged), but should tell you what is going to happen by saying, for example, ‘I am just going to check your groin area’.
 
A doctor would not normally put his/her hands inside your underwear. If your knickers were too high up, the doctor should have asked you to lower them at the beginning of the examination, so that he/she could see the whole area before examining you.
 
In these matters, I think one should follow one’s gut feelings. You felt uncomfortable about the examination, which means that something was wrong – possibly a misunderstanding, or possibly the doctor was not behaving correctly.
 
For the future, you have several choices.
  • You could decide not to see that doctor again.
  • You could see the same doctor, but say at the beginning ‘If you need to examine me, I would like a nurse to be present’. If he says he needs to examine you and the nurse is not present, decline firmly.
  • You could see that doctor but, if he asks to examine you again, say firmly ‘No thank you, I do not wish to be examined’. (Remember, you are in charge.)
  • Take a friend with you, and ask her to remain with you throughout the consultation and examination (not on the other side of the curtain).

My advice would be to find a different doctor. It is important to trust your doctor and, if trust is lost (for whatever reason), it is difficult to regain it.

Last updated; Thursday, July 6th 2017


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