For Parents To Prevent Children From Being Sexually Abused By Doctors
If you do research, you will find many cases of
child sexual abuse by doctors all over the United States. There
are many unreported cases because patients are afraid to speak up
about the abuse they experienced because they know that it is very
easy for doctors to get away with wrongdoing. Some doctors that
have committed misconduct have continued to practice. It usually
takes a long time for doctors to be arrested. One of the worst cases
was Dr. Earl Bradley, a pediatrician in Delaware who has been accused
of sexually abused over 100 children. He even was accused of sexually
abused a 3 month infant according a news source. Check
out the article by ABC News about Dr. Earl Bradley. Another
pediatrician, Dr. Levine, a learning disabilties expert was accused
of sexually abusing 5 boys. Check out some articles about Dr.
Levine in The New York Times. A pediatrician and sports medicine
Van De Loo sexually abused some boys during sports physicals.
1.) It is best for at least one
parent or trusted adult be present in the examining room with the
child and doctor at all times. Remember the nurse is primarily there
to protect the doctor. Sometimes, children have a hard time knowing
if the doctor is doing anything inappropriate.
2.) Teach your children boundaries
and explain to them that they should apply them to doctors too.
Check out Boundaries For Children.
3.) If your daughter has gynecological
problems, you should always take her to a female doctor.
4.) If the doctor tells you that
he/she thinks it would be best if you left the examining room, tell
him/her no firmly.
5.) If the doctor desires to take
your child to another room for a special treat by himself/herself,
tell him no firmly and that you need to go with him/her. A good
pediatrician welcomes parents in the examining room with the child.
6.) Be firm and don't let the
child dress unnecessarily for certain procedures. For example, if
a child is suspected to have chicken pox, there's no need for him/her
to take all clothes off because the doctors can diagnose chicken
pox by looking at certain parts of skin that are not under clothes.
7.) Encourage your teenage
daughters to never go to a male gynecologist. Women who
go to a male gynecologist put themselves in a vulnerable position.
Many teenage girls do not want their mothers to be a part of their
gynecological appointments. Remember that pap smears are often unnecessary
for teenage girls unless they are sexually active. See more information
smears for virgins. If your daughter needs a gynecologist, try
to find her a female gynecologist who specializes in adolescent
gynecology. Many teenage girls have been traumatized by the memory
of being examined by a male gynecologist even if they were not sexually
abused. Some women cannot get over it even after many years. Be
willing to drive as far as you have to find a good female ob/gyn
for your daughter if there are no good female ob/gyns where you
live. Check out tips for female
8.) Keep in mind that boys are also vulnerable
and can be sexually abused by doctors too so you need to also take
precautions with them.
9.) Don't allow any unnecessary genital exams
on your children. If your child is uncomfortable with a genital
exam, request that no genital exams be done.
10.) Try to be present for your child's procedure
or surgery especially if he/she will be under anesthesia. The mother
for a 12 year old girl who had oral surgery to remove some baby
teeth was present in the room with her which was good because the
girl had laughing gas.
11.) Stay educated about any procedures or surgeries
your children may need to have. Take time to do your own research.
For example, if your child is suspected of having appendicitis,
don't allow a rectal exam to be done unless appendicitis has been
ruled out by other tests. Check
out how they diagnose appendicitis. Check out this other
article about how digital rectal exam is often unnecessary for
diagnosing appendicitis and how it can be emotionally and physically
12.) Think in advance about what parts of your
child's body need to be examined before you go to the doctor. For
example, if your teenage daughter has an elbow injury, it would
be best if she could wear a short sleeved shirt instead of a long
sleeved shirt so she would not have to take her shirt off.
13.) Always keep in mind that doctors are humans
and not infallible. Do not teach your children that the doctor is
always right and everything the doctor does is good.