"Shockingly poor treatment"

About: Birmingham Women's Hospital

I suffer a condition called endometriosis which is a very debilitating disease which causes chronic pain. I've been seeing a gynaecologist for a few years now and have also been attending appointments with a pain specialist to ensure I'm receiving the correct pain medication. I had an appointment with the pain specialist this Tuesday and it was a dr I had never seen before, there was a nurse and a gynaecologist in the room also. The dr started asking normal questions such as what medication I'm on, where do I feel the pain, what makes it worse or better and what the impact on my life is. Then the questioning became sexual (one common symptom is painful intercourse) some of which I found inappropriate such as asking me whether I orgasm and how difficult was it, whether i achieve it on my own or with a partner, how often. He then asked me if I had been sexually abused, to which i answered yes that I was abused from the ages 9-12 by my grandfather and 14-16 by a boyfriend of my mothers. He started asking me questions about this that were of an emotional nature, I cannot remember what he asked as by this time I was becoming upset. After this he said to me 'I am going to be doing a physical vaginal exam with my finger' I felt that this was a definite statement and that I had no choice in the matter, I was not asked if this was ok to do and I was given no explanation of why he was doing it, I also never expected this and was very shocked as I had never before had one at a pain clinic and the last time I'd had an exam of this nature was before my diagnosis 4 years ago. I didn't see there was any need for this exam especially given my history, but I felt that I hadn't been given a choice in the matter. I was taken into an adjoining room by the nurse who pulled a curtain around me and instructed me to remove all clothing from the waist down, she gave me a large amount of paper towel material to cover my private area during the exam, all of which I did and by this point I was feeling scared. The dr came in and before starting the exam he picked up the paper covering me and moved it aside so that I was completely exposed, I felt horrified by this and again very shocked. During the exam he pressed various internal muscles and asked if they hurt and how much, my answer was always that it was unbearably painful. It was over quickly. I redressed and returned to the other room. The dr then explained to me that he thought that the reason I was feeling most of my pain (including non sexual related) was because of the past abuse and that my mental state was creating the pain!! I thought that he was completely out of bounds as his area is pain management and not psychiatry. He said that the only thing that would help me is talking therapies. I also suffer a condition called vaginismus which the dr knew about and an exam should not be performed with this condition if it is thought it will cause pain and/or distress, as he knew it would because he commented on this

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Response from Birmingham Women's Hospital

We are very concerned by the feedback you have published and we are sorry to hear that you had a traumatic experience at the hospital which we would like to look into and also discuss with you further. Please can you contact our PALS Team on 0121 627 2747 or on the mobile 07720703511. PALS offer patient advice as well as a confidential service and will be able to look into the issues you have raised. It may also help to talk to someone at the hospital and the PALS team can help with this. Thank you for taking the time to feedback and your comments have been passed on to the teams involved in your care. We hope that you can get in touch.

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