Bill to require consent for pelvic exams on patients under anesthesia

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Senate Bill 188 proposes mandatory consent for pelvic exams where the patient is under anesthesia. Utah would be the 6th state to pass a similar law. 

Medical students report that while in training they were instructed to give patients under anesthesia a pelvic exam to practice their skills, but the patients were never asked or informed. 

Phoebe Friesen is a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford. She worked with medical students on ethics at NYU a couple of years ago. She said, “This topic of pelvic exams on women who were under anesthetic and haven’t consented came back so frequently. A lot of the students felt really uncomfortable with the fact that they were being asked to practice something they knew had no clinical benefit for the patient.”

Friesen explained that the attending physician had a distinctly different perspective because of their role, but that the patient’s perspective must be considered. 

Connor Boyack with the Libertas Institute has supported Utah’s SB 188 and said, “We’ve heard informally from physicians and medical students that this does not happen in Utah, they’ve never heard of this, they never experienced it, to which we say, great let’s just make clear in the law that this should never happen in the future.”

If the bill passes, consent for educational pelvic examinations for women and men would be required in writing and verbally, and the patient would have full control over who can perform the exam and who can be present.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah VP Debate

More Utah Debate
Inside Utah Politics Logo

Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...