Is it Rape or a Rectal Exam?

If you bump your head and are taken to the emergency room for eight stitches — would you expect a rectal exam to be part of the diagnosis process?

What do you make of the case Brian Persaud — a 38-year-old construction worker — is making in court as he sues the hospital that treated him for a head injury and then forced a rectal exam against his consent:

Mr. Persaud was taken to the emergency room at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he received eight stitches to his head. According to a lawsuit he later filed, Mr. Persaud was then told that he needed an immediate rectal examination to determine whether he had a spinal-cord injury.

He adamantly objected to the procedure, he said, but was held down as he begged, “Please don’t do that.” As Mr. Persaud resisted, he freed one of his hands and struck a doctor, according to the suit. Then he was sedated, the suit says, with a breathing tube inserted through his mouth.

After Mr. Persaud regained consciousness, he was arrested, then taken — still in his hospital gown — to be booked on a misdemeanor assault charge.

Was the hospital right to require a rectal exam?

Was Mr. Persaud in the correct frame of mind to cogently deny the rectal exam?

Where is the line drawn between a necessary emergency medical procedure and a patient’s right to deny treatment?

When men reach a certain age — The Rectal Exam — becomes a big and looming and necessarily ordinary part of their lives as an ongoing check for prostate trouble.

Some gynecologists require rectal exams as part of a routine pelvic exam — and some doctors will even do a “rectovaginal exam” where a finger is inserted in the vagina and another finger in the rectum at the same time — and please be warned this video is a graphic, but professional, demonstration of that exam. Do not click to watch if you are not old enough, or mature enough, to handle the matter.

I’m sorry I couldn’t find a similarly professional prostate exam video. I think it’s sad and telling that YouTube is filled with so many unfunny “funny” prostate exams. How do you feel about getting poked and prodded?

Have you ever felt violated by your doctor?

Did you say anything?

Do we feel more violated when entered rectally than through the mouth or urethra?

Is there more of a cultural taboo when it comes to bending over than when we spread our legs?

Can we ever overcome the involuntary tightening when asked to relax our sphincter?