Students sue over 'forced' vaginal probes

2015-05-20 09:12

(http://www.shutterstock.com)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Miami - Two former college students are suing a Florida medical college, alleging they were forced to undergo frequent transvaginal probes during classroom training as part of their studies.

A federal lawsuit filed by the unnamed women in Orlando accuses Valencia College employees of ordering them to undergo the procedures or risk having their grades reduced.

It said entrants to the college's Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programme were encouraged to submit to the procedures in order to become better sonographers.

"Valencia positioned these transvaginal probes as voluntary, but its actual policy and practice was that they were not," the lawsuit said.

"In fact, Valencia's established and widespread policy was to browbeat students who did not consent to those invasive probes and threaten plaintiff's academic standing as well as their future careers until the students complied."

Invasive probes

Three defendants were named in the lawsuit - Barbara Ball, the chair of the sonography programme, Linda Shaheen, the clinical laboratory co-ordinator and Maureen Bugnacki, the program's lab technician.

In a statement, the school, while declining to comment specifically on the case, insisted that "the use of volunteers - including fellow students - for medical sonography training is a nationally accepted practice."

"Nonetheless, we continue to review this practice and others to ensure that they are effective and appropriate for the learning environment," it added.

The suit said the students bringing the case "endured these invasive probes nearly every week", even though Valencia had anatomically correct simulators specifically designed for students to practice sonography exams.

Students also had the opportunity to practice on actual patients in a medical setting at various central Florida hospitals.

Probing sessions

"There was no rational basis or need for Valencia State College to force plaintiffs to endure these invasive probes of their reproductive organs," the suit alleged.

The lawsuit also alleged the students were subjected to sexually suggestive remarks by Ball during one probe.

"Defendant Ball's comments can only be described as bizarre during some of these forced probing sessions," the suit said.

"She allegedly approached one student... and stated [she] was 'sexy' and should be an 'escort girl' [prostitute]. Defendants believe this type of behaviour casts serious doubts upon Ball's motivation for insisting upon these forced vaginal probing sessions."

The complaint says the probing sessions took place without a "modicum of privacy" often being made to cross the classroom in full view of instructors and other students.

In some cases, students were required to "sexually stimulate" the plaintiffs in order to facilitate inserting the probe, the suit alleged.

"Plaintiffs experienced discomfort and embarrassment each time they had to endure this forced probing of their sexual organs," it added.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.