This past semester in law school I took a domestic violence seminar and one day a doctor came to visit and discuss DV.
She had a lot of history working with victims of DV and had implemented a system in her hospital that helped raise awareness of this problem and provided resources to the patients.
She told us this following story and it made me think of VP and I wanted to get some reactions/opinions because...well I guess I just don't know where I stand.
She said she had a patient that came in with her male partner. The woman asked for her partner to stay in the room while she had her exam. However, the doctor wouldn't allow it (she said it was b/c she sensed that there may be some DV issues between them). She said the patient strongly articulated that she wanted her partner in the room, but the Dr instead escorted him out to the waiting room. The patient then wanted the dr to perform the gyn. exam with the door open (genitals facing the door) so that her partner could see what was happening. The doctor did not do this. She said that she asked the usual questions and eventually the patient told her that her partner was abusing her and she was able to provide some resources to the patient.
Now I've been reading VP for a long time so I know there are people who truly fear going to the gyn., there are those who are more comfortable having someone there as well. But at the same time, (assuming this doctor was correct), this patient was being abused and perhaps by separating her from the partner she was able to get some help.
But I'm kind of torn. Like, I love the fact that this doctor was being proactive and trying to help her patients. I don't love the fact that the choice of the patient to have someone there was taken from her. And I know her desire to have the exam with the door open sounds weird and possibly points to fear of her partner, but it also may be that she was so terrified of the exam itself...
I don't know--it's a fine line the doctors have to walk in this area. But what is your opinion? Should a dr not let the person in the room if they suspect DV. If so, how could a doctor go about passing along DV info to patients?