African Health Sciences, Vol. 3, No. 3, August, 2003, pp. 146
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Rectal exam mistaken for sodomy, a patients personal experience!
John Fredrick Ogumbo
Managing Director Baylem Limited, P. O. Box 12258, 00400 Nairobi Kenya E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Code Number: hs03027
In 1985 beginning of the month of October I was a General Manager of a reputable Motor Company in Kenya and had just attained the age of 38 years. I had suffered from occassioned stomachaches and black outs, and was suspected to be suffering from peptic ulcers. Having been attended to by many doctors without recovering from the problem I was referred to a doctor specialist of Indian origin at the Nairobi Hospital who talked to me briefly and gave me an appointment to see him the following morning for a thorough examination.
I walked to his clinic well dressed and ready to go through his examination, completed a form with his secretary who was also of Indian origin, then I was called in by the doctor who looked generally pleasant but rather formal. After a brief discussion, the doctor ordered me to remove my clothes and lay on a small bed facing the wall. At this moment in time I was still having my under-wear because, in my mind, I was not aware that he wanted me to be completely naked. As if he had not seen me with my under-wear, he shouted at me in a rather strange manner to remove the underwear and bend one of my legs! I hesitantly responded by removing it but something crossed my mind asking inwardly why this man wanted me to be completely naked, and facing the wall with my buttocks open!
I had never been subjected to that kind of examination by any doctor, and to make matters even worse by an Asian doctor! I then concluded that maybe the man wanted to sleep with me! So as I was facing the wall with my leg bent I was extremely worried but fully prepared for any eventuality!
I was determined that any slightest attempt to sleep with me by this man would mean death to him or both of us, although I did not see how an Asian could beat me, let alone sleeping with me! I was waiting for the abomination. If he made a move I would pounce on him.
Before my mind could settle on my next move, I felt his fingers penetrating through my anus, and without wasting any time, I jumped and held him by his neck pinning him on to the wall. He screamed loudly calling me all sorts of names, but as I was determined to teach him a lesson, his screaming did not stop me from beating him nor did I realize that I was naked.
It was not until the secretary and the messenger forced themselves into the room that I realized the man was hurt and that I was naked and out of danger. I then put on my clothes hurriedly but still enraged, walked out and went straight to my family doctor to tell him the nasty experience and humiliation I had undergone with the Asian doctor.
When I narrated my ordeal to my family doctor, then a renown professor, he broke into a big laughter which annoyed me even further. I walked out only to talk to him later that afternoon.
He later on told me that the procedure (rectal examination) was normal for a patient with the kind of problem I was complaining about, but the Asian doctor should have told me in advance the details of examination I was to go through. The Asian doctor has since died, and I really felt sorry for my behaviour.
However I hope that doctors and other health workers will learn to explain any procedures they want to carry out on us patients!
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