I was a rather new doctor when a woman I knew from the community brought their teenage daughter in for a “checkup.” I naively assumed they were there to discuss a topic like birth control, acne, or menstrual cramps. But the mother quickly informed me that they were concerned that their daughter had become sexually active, and wanted me to “check her down there and tell me what was going on.”
The mortified daughter sat glaring at their mother on the brink of tears, and I began to panic internally. How was I going to handle this moment? (They don’t teach you things like that in med school.) I took an extra deep breath and calmly explained to the mother that this was not possible physically or ethically. The mother’s anger began to escalate as the daughter’s anxiety began to dissipate. I eventually got everyone settled down and was able to provide the daughter with some appropriate medical care, but the entire interaction disturbed me. Sadly, it turned out to be the first of many times it has happened over the years.
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