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Can I accompany my wife for a physical examination?

Q: In our country, female's sexual safety is a big issue. Fifteen days back my wife underwent a surgery wherein she had to go in wearing a gown, which was very open. This too was removed when they started operating her. Now can you imagine 6 males were present in the operation theatre (OT). Initially there were 6 males only, then after 25 minutes a lady surgeon came in the OT and went away in another 25 minutes. After another 20 minutes my wife came out. After that when she was in the private room, the lady doctor came with a junior male doctor and asked me to move out so that they both could examine her. Now my question is that how valid are these rules? One side we take care of females in all places and on the other side, they have to be naked in front of male doctors and OT attendants. Please let me know if there is any clause, which can help a husband to be with his wife while examination of the wife and/or during surgery. Please answer.

A:You have raised an important question. 1. During surgical operations: The patients modesty is respected but many hospitals and clinics find it convenient to clothe the patient due for surgery in a gown rather than in shirt - pyjama or traditional feminine attire. The chief reason for the use of the gown is that it is easy to open after the patient is anaesthetised and it minimises the time spent in preparation of the patient for surgery. It is true that male doctors and other attendants are often required in the operation theatre but almost all theatre personnel are careful to respect the modesty of the female patient. In particular, when the gown is to be opened or re-applied at the end of surgery it is done by a female nurse. Likewise, during surgery, if it is necessary to take off all the clothes then the breasts, pelvis and perineum are covered by green towels unless surgery is to be performed on one of these areas. 2. In the patient’s room or ward: In teaching hospitals, after taking the permission of the patient, male students may be allowed to examine the female patient under the supervision of the teacher and in the presence of a female nurse. In all examinations of the female patient, a female nurse is present. On occasion, the husband and other relatives may be requested to step outside during examination of the female patient when the doctor may wish to learn personal details relating to the patient that she may find embarrassing to discuss in the presence of her relations. Let me give you an example. It is sometimes necessary to obtain information on sexual practices from the patient. You can see how the patient would be inhibited if male relatives are around. It is the right of every female patient to insist on the presence of a female nurse when any examination is performed on her. On most occasions, if the female patient insists on the presence of her husband during her examination, this will be respected and the husband asked to remain present.

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