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    Why do some women refuse to allow male residents to perform pelvic exams?
    Acad Med 2002 Oct;77(10):1034-8
    University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80218, USA.
    Purpose: Many women who receive medical care in residency training clinics refuse to allow male residents to perform their pelvic exams. This study was conducted to identify which women were most likely to refuse and to learn their reasons for refusing.

    Method: From January to March 1997, a questionnaire was given to all women entering a Tri-County Health office and a Planned Parenthood clinic, both in the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area, who consented to participate in the study. Data from the questionnaire were analyzed using a statistical software package.

    Results: A total of 1,437 women entered the clinics during the study period. Of these patients, 1,078 consented to complete the questionnaire. Seven of these 1,078 women did not complete the questionnaire. Women who did not know the training level of the resident performing the pelvic exam were more likely to refuse than were women who knew the training level of the resident (p =.001), but many women preferred a female physician regardless of the physician's training level. Fifty-eight percent said they would allow a male resident to observe a female attending physician perform the exam, compared with 36% who said they would allow a male resident to observe if the attending physician was a man. Common statements from those who would refuse were: "I am just more comfortable with a female," "Women do not want men to examine their private body parts," and "Women explain things better."

    Conclusions: A woman's knowledge of the resident's training level correlates with her willingness to have a pelvic exam performed by a male resident. Women who said they would refuse a pelvic exam performed by a male resident gave specific reasons for their decision.

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