Nov 29, 2010

The Doctor Will Grope You Now

Doctor D, what are your thoughts on the TSA?
Okay, so no one actually emailed me this, but it’s high time Doctor D set things straight!

Dr. D’s prescription for America:
Stop being such snively, self-important, brats!
So what gives a medical doctor any right to speak on transportation and counter-terrorism?

Doctors also do full body searches. We call them physical exams.

During these exams we touch and look at every part of the body. I stick my fingers in vaginas, rectums, and mouths. I even sometimes do these exams on children—Oh, the horror! Lock up that sick man!!!!

How do doctors get away with this disgusting violations of your rights? We feel you up under the guise of keeping you safe. The TSA learned their trick from doctors!

These exams are theoretically voluntary, but most doctors will decline to take care of you unless you submit to some sort of medical pat-down. What an outrage!

Is All Touching Dirty?
Look, we all recognize that this is a weird situation. Touching a stranger’s body is awkward for both the toucher and the touchee. It is human nature to reserve close physical contact for family, intimate friends, and lovers. But sometimes we must do things that feel unnatural.

It is my job to touch every person who seeks my help.

Sorry, but when we spend all day touching bodies we kind of get used to it. You may see your body as a unique and private expression of yourself, but we see it simply as a dull object that must be checked for signs of danger.
You may feel violated because I had to check your prostate, but it didn’t bother me one bit. Checking your rectum is no more disturbing to me than checking your ear.
Of course, we try to be sensitive. Doctor D has had to do some invasive exams on little kids and sexual assault victims. We should take our patients’ feelings into account, but not not doing our job at all isn’t sensitivity—it’s incompetence.

Here's The Naughty Part
(Stop here if skimming!)
What everybody's getting really worked up about is genitals! You only let people touch those in the most intimate of moments, except of course at the doctor’s office or the airport. Then you get a stranger poking around some sensitive spots.Doctor D will go ahead and answer your question now:
No. We are not thinking about sex, and if you are that’s your problem—not ours.
We aren’t eunuchs or anything like that—we are just focused on the job. Doctor D is a red-blooded heterosexual man who loves women as much as the next guy, but D can honestly say he has never once felt anything amorous about a patient during an exam. You could be a supermodel or an 80 year old grandmother and Doctor D feels exactly the same about touching you during an exam. Doctors learn quickly to see the bodies we work on as tasks to be completed rather conduits of passion.

Sure there is the occasional true sicko, but these people so rare that you chances of having one of them examine you is pretty minuscule. Doctor D has known quite a few doctors who were walking hormones and hit on everything of the opposite sex they ever met, and still these docs were nothing but professional and trustworthy when doing physical exams. A professional touching of the private parts is about as unromantic a situation as possible.
The attracting effect of the human body has no power over me when I wear the white coat! "Sorry, but I just don’t feel that way about you. It’s not you—it’s me"

Can We Handle This Like Grown-Ups?
I feel for the TSA agents. They are getting harassed for just doing their job. Physical exams suck. I’m sure pat-downs do too. But if they are necessary in order to ensure your safety and they are required to fly, then you should either grin and bare it or plan a long road trip.

This TSA fiasco irritates Doctor D to no end! It’s not that people dislike body searches. That is understandable. It’s the attitude of enraged entitlement that irks Doctor D. Everybody demands everything be done perfectly, safely, and cheaply and with no inconvenience to them whatsoever:

“I feel bad! I demand your full attention. Don’t make me wait; don’t poke at me; and don’t you dare tell me the treatment has risks or side effects! I have a constitutional right to everything I want right now and without any bother!”

And we wonder why the rest of the world thinks we are spoiled assholes?

Doctor D will be flying over the Christmas holidays, and when it’s time for his pat-down he will thank the beleaguered TSA agents for keeping us safe.

Your thoughts?

Any of you out there who's had a TSA pat-down that thinks it is worse than a pelvic exam?

Do you think patients should get treatments they want while “opting out” of the physical exam?


While Doctor D always loves to hear your thoughts, if your comments are too whiny or bratty Dr. D will hunt you down and administer a punitive rectal exam!

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only way to get through those exams - especially the yearly pelvic, is just to talk. I find if I talk to the Dr. about the kids, school, whatever, while the Dr. is doing the exam, it is a lot less stressful for me! Full exams are not fun, but I figured the Doctors have seen it all and won't be shocked by what they encounter.

As for flying, I try to avoid it. I am that person sitting next to you that is always puking their guts out in the white bag for the entire trip, despite Scopolamine patches, accupressure wrist bands, peppermint oil, dramamine, ice packs, cool air on the face...
Motion sickness keeps me from flying, not the overly touchy TSA people. :-)

Grumpy, M.D. said...

That was excellent. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I think the difference between a doctor and the TSA is that a doctor went to school for years to learn all the signs of a sick person and how to treat an illness.

A TSA screener is a high school graduate who did basic training to look through people's luggage.

Rairy said...

I can opt out of treatment and make the choice to get sick or die. Once in a security line I can not leave or opt out with out facing a fine or imprisonment.

My doc is also going to take the time to make sure I am okay and explain why an exam is needed. My doc does not assume rights over my body. My doc is a trained professional with years of schooling and experience. My doc only touches what is needed and offers a gown or sheet to cover the rest of me. My doc has a history of guiding me toward better health.

TSA offers me none of those things. They want to take naked pictures of me or grope me and then try to tell me that keeps me safe when it doesn't. They take away nail clippers from armed soliders and mange to miss 12 in razor blades in laptop bags.

My doctor worked to build trust with me. TSA assumes my trust and then is a bully if I question them.

Pissed Off Patient said...

I don't think the TSA people get into the ethics and responsibility of their 'physical exams' like medical professionals do.

But I see your point.

M

Anonymous said...

I would rather take a higher risk of being attacked by a terrorist than be groped by TSA or having naked pictures taken of me. They have gone too far in the name of "safety."

Those who sacrifice liberty in the name of safety deserve neither.

gaurdro said...

The thing is, TSA's pat downs and naked pictures don't make us safer. Nor, argueably, does the rest of what tsa does. I was taken and had my bags torn apart (I'm a very efficient packer) over an ipod charger, but when I came through with two partially full growlers of beer? Not even a second glance. If I were to take explosives, or a weapon on to a plane (I'm NOT going to) I'd put it in my rectum. should we let tsa strip us naked and do cavity searches in the security line for the sake of security theater? (which is completely unsecured...) I certainly don't think so.

Sorry, Dr. D, but I don't really like my privacy invaded for a false sense of security.

Katie said...

I think it's been awhile since we've had anything to gripe about so this has been blown out of proportion. I fly on a monthly basis and in October went through the new machine where you put your hands above your head. Maybe I'm naive, but the thought of "Oh my gosh, what are they seeing?" never crossed my mind. My body looks, more of less, like every other body out there. TSA looks at xrays all day every day. What's going to make mine any different?

Since I am a frequent flier, my concern is how will this slow down security lines? The "Stand on the feet and put your hands above your head, elbows out" takes a whole lot longer than the "Walk through" or even the "now you're in a wind tunnel" xrays.

It's just a hassle. Take off the belt, off with the shoes (I ALWAYS fly with socks; even in July), all 3oz liquids in a quart bag (once they took my hand sanitzer because it has alcohol in it...), remove the computer, etc. But it's a hassle we must adjust to for the sake of safety. That's life. You could always drive.

<>< Katie

C said...

Oh my gosh, great post- I am just thankful that the TSA is doing everything they can to keep me safe- I fly a lot, and if the TSA needs these scanners to ensure nothing happens to me and the many people who fly every day- so be it. If you don't like it, drive.

bb said...

Apples to oranges. A doctor’s visit cannot be compared to governmental search of our naked bodies or groping. If you are pulled over by the police, even for their own safety, they are prohibited from performing such an invasive search. Probable cause is needed before groping a suspect’s genitals. Once a person goes to jail, all bets are off and a person is subjected to the type of search that the TSA has instituted. The 4th Amendment states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I guess that one is out the window if all the government has to say is "safety"

I work in a high rise in a large city. Building security has instituted different security measures for our safety. It’s annoying but reasonable. I am required to produce my belongings for a search before being allowed to enter the elevator bank. Using the government’s “for our own safety” why not send us through machines that take photos of our naked bodies or grope our genitals before we are allowed to enter our offices? Are we to only be safe when traveling? Why not when I enter a high rise or when I go to a concert or a ball game?

A doctor performing an exam that is invasive is not for the purpose of detecting illegal contraband. The government is performing that invasive search to detect illegal contraband.

“Except in certain narrowly limited cases, the Court repeatedly has stated its 'insist[ence] upon probable cause as a minimum requirement for a reasonable search permitted by the Constitution.' Because '[t]he integrity of an individual's person is a cherished value in our society,' searches that invade bodily integrity cannot be executed as mere fishing expeditions to acquire useful evidence: 'The interests in human dignity and privacy which the Fourth Amendment protects forbid any such intrusions on the mere chance that desired evidence might be obtained.'” Well, I guess this one is out the door because the invasive search is for the good of other passengers. I guess safety is enough probable cause to do a virtual strip search or grope our genitals.

You cannot compare your care of a patient which can be invasive to that of the government’s invasive search. The purpose is VASTLY different. Your purpose as a physician is to provide medical care while the government’s is to search for contraband and arrest if necessary. Also, you are zoning in on how it “feels.” This whole thing is not about how it feels but the outrageous invasion of privacy by our government.

There was this man who had a pee bag (forgive my crude language but I forget the medical term). The TSA agent squeezed the bag and it popped and his urine spilled out. When I read that, I actually gasped in shock and horror. I can’t tell you how bad I felt for that man and how outraged I am that citizens are subjected to such humiliating invasion of privacy just to travel from one place to another. What do they do with a person that has a colostomy bag? What about an adult who is incontinent and wears a diaper? Imagine the humiliation people are going to have to suffer for this false sense of security.

Make no mistake, it is a false sense of security. We understand that TSA body scan would not have detected and does not detect certain items that have already been smuggled on aircraft. Should women be required to remove her tampon to ensure that they have not smuggled something in their tampon? Should we ban tampons from menstruating women who travel by air? We Americans so easily give up basic rights for a false sense of security. How sad and tragic.

Anonymous said...

I could not go thru the metal detectors at the time bc I was in a wheel chair. I had my surgery site manhandled any my port roughly handled AND I fly FREQUENTLY for both pleasure and medical apts. I'm NOT anti TSA nor do I have a bad attitude. However, my doctors have never ever treated me as badly as I have been treated RECENTLY by the TSA. It has been getting worse.

So - if Little D or Lady D is ever mistreated you might think again Doctor D. I promise you that when your personal body is MISHANDLED and you bleed because someone roughly treats it "in the name of freedom" YOU START TO DISAGREE WITH WHAT "FREEDOM" IS.

Anonymous said...

I agree that these TSA searches are just Kabuki theater to hoodwink the passengers into a false sense of security. Just how will these screenings or pat-downs find plastic explosives inserted in the rectum or breast implants - incidents that have already been reported. Are checked luggage, Fedex or UPS packages in the cargo hold screened?

Oh, and let's not forget the big business aspect of all this. Follow the money -> Michael Chertoff (nee Homeland Security Chief under Bush) taking advantage of all the fear and frenzy after the underpants bomber was captured, lobbied to put these scanners in airports - all made exclusively by a company he owns. Obama pledged that all airports will eventually have these machines, at $200,000 a pop. What a waste of tax payer dollars.

Mandy

Have Myelin? said...

TSA can keep their hands OFF me. I don't allow strangers to grope me (medical professionals are exempt...after all, we're just a "task" to them, LOL)

But being groped by TSA does not make flying more secure. Nor do those nudie x-rays. (wow...really looks like a Playboy shoot, no?)

The most secure airport in the world is in Israel and they do NOT do these things. Perhaps we should ask them how they do it.

Maybe to save time you could examined your patients in the lobby...I mean they're doing it in public, at the airport. Heh...

A very funny post!!! =)

Anonymous said...

So I'm 30 and I have a pacemaker, meaning my right to have a patdown is my right to enter certain settings. I once had to sit outside in the cold while sick, because the court house where I had been called to jury duty could not find a female officer to do a pat down. Now I didn't request a female officer, and frankly it pissed me off because everyone else seems a lot more self concious about this than I am. I sure don't like it, but I do care about keeping the airlines safe, and for me it is a simple issue of access.

So I really don't get what people are upset about. Now I should probably talk to me doctor before I fly next time because I have heard they are using new machines.

So the thing that bothers me is when airline people (or doctors who do exams) get all weird about doing something that's their job and really shouldn't have any sexual conotation.

I guess I would say that I have also had several doctors listen to my lungs through my shirt (which I can kind of understand), but the ones who listen to my lungs through my sweater??? How the heck do they hear anything? And to me it IS ridiculous because I am there for help, and that is what is on my mind.

Melissa

The Mother said...

I keep saying essentially the same things. I keep reminding people that these scanners aren't really any different than the heaps of medical images we keep on file in every office. I keep telling people to stop being Puritans.

But they keep reminding me that I'm different, somehow, being medical.

Oh, and having volunteered to teach pelvic exams to med students for umpteen years.

I guess I am different. But I, too, am tired of the self-important whining. Thanks for backing me up.

Anonymous said...

Ok Dr. D I don't wanna get too political or whatever but when you said..

"I feel for the TSA agents. They are getting harassed for just doing their job. Physical exams suck. I’m sure pat-downs do too. But if they are necessary in order to ensure your safety and they are required to fly, then you should either grin and bare it or plan a long road trip."

I'm sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but seriously, a pat-down is NOT going to "ensure" anyone's safety. In an imperfect world, almost nothing can be made certain. These pat-downs provide an illusion of security, not actual security. All that we're gonna have now are really, really motivated, self-loathing, and suicidal terrorist shoving TNT and the like up their asses. What's next... TSA rectals to "keep us safe"?

Air transport is still the safest form of transportation. There will always be some risk flying, but there are more risks driving to work in the winter in NY. But terrorism will ALWAYS be sexier and have a higher entertainment value than a single vehicle crash killing 3 of 5 passengers.

Also, to answer your question, inappropriate TSA groping doesn't even come close to a pelvic exam, and I know this even though I don't have a vagina. Pelvics actually save lives (think cervical cancer etc). Doctors can touch us because we have an actual relationship with them, and the purpose is obvious. The TSA involves a bunch of fools that really have no right to be touching you. It's really that simple.

nik

Wren said...

If the xrays and pat-downs actually kept us safe as we fly, I wouldn't mind them. But they don't keep us safe. What the TSA is doing is "security theater"--it cannot and will not stop a determined terrorist.

I don't fly very often, but each of the four times I've flown in the last 15 years, I've somehow set off the metal detector (and ended up getting patted down) and more recently, was singled out by the TSA for a more thorough search, which included a pat-down. I'm in my early 50s, female, American, blonde ... and I'd make a rotten terrorist. Why was I singled out? I have no idea--and the TSA officers wouldn't tell me. In the end, they satisfied themselves (or someone) that I wasn't a threat and let me board.

I don't like the fact that this need to convince us that we're "safe" means that our civil liberties are curtailed, even if they're small. As some of the other commenters here have asked, "What's next? Public cavity searches?" At least those might actually catch a bad guy.

Sigh.

Moose said...

Comparing the TSA to doctors isn't just comparing apples to oranges, it's comparing apples to steak.

Like a previous person said, a doctor is trained for years on what to look for and how to treat a patient. A TSA agent gets about 2 weeks of training and then they rely on machines to keep you "safe."

Have you seen this article? http://www.thestar.com/iphone/news/world/article/744199---israelification-high-security-little-bother

Basically it discusses the way airport security is done in Israel. Now, Israel is a much (much!) smaller country than the US, but they have far, far more people that would love to bomb them back to the stone age.

What they do is simple. Instead of spending millions of dollars on fancy equipment that DOES NOT EVEN WORK (have you seen the video from Germany where a guy goes through one of the new machines with all the parts needed to make a bomb, and not one piece is detected? And then he puts together the parts and sets it off just to show it was real!) they instead spend millions of dollars to train their security agents to learn to watch people. They do use some simple machines, but the majority of the detection is looking at people's faces, into their eyes, and seeing what happens when you ask them questions.

Nervous people look nervous. Their system works. Ours really doesn't.

Anonymous said...

When you go to a doctor's office for a problem/exam, you expect to be touched. There is a professionalism there. We come with a problem, you examine, and then come up with a solution. You tell us why you do what you do, give us an option to object or voice a concern, and then we move on. If at any point in time we become uncomfortable, you are there with comforting words and we have the option to stop. To sum it up, you treat us with dignity and respect us as a person.
When you fly and get to the TSA checkpoint, you get none of that. The last time I flew, I was subjected to the new x-ray technology (naked pictures), and then an enhanced pat-down. I wasn't treated like a human being. No one told me what was going on or why they were manhandling me. I apparently gave my consent to be touched already and didn't know it. When I asked for information about what was going on, I was threatened with detainment and arrest because asking questions was equivalent to non-compliance, which they see as a threat. There was no dignity. I didn't get the option to stop. There was no option of privacy. And while this was happening to me, they were demanding that a male with a cast up his leg and crutches stand on that leg to prove he was hurt and the cast was for real.
That's the biggest problem people have with the screenings. We want to be treated with dignity and grace, and not assumed to be terrorists. Doctors do that. Apparently the TSA does not.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what all the fuss is about. Do people not realize how they sound? "I don't want people sending copies of my naked photos all over the internet." Get over yourself! There's nothing erotic about the pictures, and frankly, given the rotund state of the average american, I figure that the poor TSA employee that has to sit there and look at those things all day should get hazardous duty pay. Most of the population doesn't look like our slender little friend up top, and that poor soul has to look at grandma and grandpa as they go through, too.

Aviva said...

I had a major search (short of body cavities, thank goodness!) when I went into a maximum security prison as a reporter to observe an execution by hanging back in '94. I remember being fairly shocked that the woman who searched me explained she had to put her hand in my cleavage and underneath my breasts to make sure I wasn't bringing in ... well, truthfully, I'm not sure what the issue was, except that it was policy. We weren't allowed to bring in our own pens or notebooks, either. And we were segregated from the rest of the media pool three hours before the execution, too. But I'm digressing ... sorry.

I flew on Nov. 2 to be part of a panel as a patient blogger. It was normal at my home airport (PDX), but when I was flying home from Oakland, they had those new scanner thingies. I have to admit -- my first reaction was, "Wow! Cool! I haven't seen these before!" The TSA folks laughed.

But honestly, I don't think there's any comparison to a TSA worker and a doctor, despite the fact that they both may touch me more intimately than I'm comfortable.

And as for Israel? Personally, I'd rather be scanned or patted down than questioned about where I'm going and why in a way that's beyond small talk. That's the main way they screen for terrorism, as well as observing body language, etc., and don't forget the racial profiling.

In general, I'm very pro-Israel. And I know they do what they have to because too many of their neighbors think they don't deserve to exist and have made it their mission to try to destroy Israel. And if I choose to live in Israel, or visit, I will accept those conditions because they truly would be keeping me safe.

But TSA? And these kinds of measures in the U.S.? It's all security theater as previous commenters have said. It's not protecting anyone. I don't think it's making anyone even really believe they're safer because of the TSA's measures.

Well, that's probably more like my 10 cents than my 2 cents, but you get the general idea. :-)

I still <3 you, Doctor D!!

tracy said...

A great post, Dr. D...and fantastic replies and points of view...thank you!

And, as much as i hate the thought of Racial Profiling, Israel is doing something right.

Anonymous said...

fuck Israel

Anonymous said...

I really and truly think you are missing the bigger point here - and that point is that you asume that all of this poking and prodding that the TSA is doing actually does keep us safer. That is very unlikely. I certainly don't like you sticking your finger up my butt - mostly because it is uncomfortable. However, I do agree that it is nessisary and I believe there is some level of chance you may find something that will save my life. That just simply is not the case with the TSA. What the TSA workers are being forced to do is a joke. It has been called "theator" - A SHOW, and I agree. Remember when their way of "keeping us safe" was to ask us if anyone that we didn't know asked us to carry something on the plane? Remember all of that? It was to keep us safe. Well, why don't they ask us that anymore? Hmmmmm.

If I actually thought what they were doing made a difference, I would endure it - and I think many others would to. I don't care how they do it - frankly I don't care if they hire doctors to do it for them so it's more professional - no matter who does it, it is not making things any safer - it just simply is not. Problem is - this fact seems to have been totally missed by you.

Anonymous said...

http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/?c=124&a=2389

but yeah, all scanning for the sake of being safe...

Anonymous said...

Everyone talking about the Israeli Airport system is missing the point. Have you ever actually flown into Israel? I have. As a 17 year old female I flew on my own from the US to visit my grandma and uncle who live in Israel in 2005. I was taken to a separate room, strip searched and patted down. I am a pretty avid flyer and in all the time before and since nothing like it has ever happened to me. Now, I don't mind, since I have lots of family in Israel and have constantly hear about bus suicide bombers in the town my grandma lives. The point is that Israel doesn't need to be as thorough on the passengers going out as they do those coming in. Believe me, Israel is VERY diligent in their security, but unlike the US, Israeli's will put up with pretty much anything to stay safe.

tracy said...

i sooo want to go to Israel. i don't care what i have to go through.

Kristina said...

I never looked at the matter in your perspective until now. I am all for safety and security. I commend TSA for raising the bar on traveling security. However, TSA agents professionalism and ethics are incomparable to doctors' and medical ethics. A number of people are not comfortable being touched and checked even by doctors. But hey, for as long as they are carrying the pat downs and other procedures in a professional manner without groping and drooling over flyers then I don't see any problem. Great post! Will share! Keep it coming!

Anonymous said...

"Physical exams suck. I’m sure pat-downs do too. But if they are necessary in order to ensure your safety and they are required to fly..."

Cite me one example where the scanners and pat downs have made us safer or saved a life? All I need is one.

Now, cite me one example where a physical by a doctor made a person safer or saved their lives? I can think of thousands.

It is NOT the same thing. The pat downs are not necessary for safe travel.

Anonymous said...

Well, you're right to a point, that we are a whiney-ass bunch and we should just take all this TSA stuff in stride. However, it is completely illogical to me that we should be subjected to this sort of scrutiny (which sounds and looks pretty embarrassing to me) to be felt up in public. I have the same question someone else up top asked - do they open up or x-ray every single piece of luggage or other cargo in the hold? Also, those who have managed to fool the airport security and brought things aboard the plane - what explanation did the security give for having missed it? Perhaps we all need to come a day earlier to the airport and go thru an entire physical grope, internal and external just so we can be totally sure!! Besides, what about folks traveling on buses, trains or ships? Shouldn't they also be searched as thoroughly? What about every single piece of mail or packages that go thru the postal or delivery services. Hell, let's slow down more and more so we can be sure we are all safe all the time. Right? Search granny's bloomers!! I think life has been too hectic for too long, this oughta be just the remedy. Maybe this is how our nation is sneaking socialized medicine on us - free physicals at the airport, in the line, while you wait. Colonoscopies, pelvics, GI exams, mammograms, lungs, heart,the whole she-bang all done by the government, compliments of the TSA.

Emily said...

OK, Doctor D. Consider this situation:

A hot blonde walks into the office of a male physician. She complains of severe RLQ pain and nausea, vomiting, etc. He is immediately concerned that she has appendicitis and commences with an abdominal exam.

Now consider this situation:

A hot blonde walks up to security in an airport. She is traveling from Milwaukee to Oklahoma City. She chooses to proceed through a scanner operated by a male TSA agent.

Which individual do you think is more likely to behave sexually? The doctor faced with a sick patient, or the TSA agent faced with a woman about as likely to be a terrorist as Bambi?

Now, obviously hot blondes can just as easily be terrorists as the next person, but the fact is that they rarely are, and I find it unlikely that even the best trained TSA agent would be completely professional and/or ethical in such a situation, whether willingly or not.

Note that I am not suggesting that TSA agents are doing a bad job, and to be perfectly honest, I suspect that most of them dread these new machines as much as the public. I am simply pointing out that to suggest that a TSA agent will behave as ethically as a doctor is facetious given the wildly different natures of the jobs.

In addition, a TSA agent is not concerned with the health and/or safety of individuals - they are very much a "do what's best for the largest number of people" sort of organization - whereas a doctor-patient relationship is very personal and individual. When a doctor examines me, it is for MY safety. When a TSA agent examines me, it is for someone else's safety.

Thoughts?

bb said...

You are zoning in on “what it feels like.” This whole fiasco goes beyond what it feels like to have the government feel or view our genitals, this outrageous invasion by our government on innocent people.

A doctor’s visit cannot be compared to governmental search of our naked bodies or groping. If you are pulled over by the police, even for their own safety, they are prohibited from performing such an invasive search. Probable cause is needed before groping a suspect’s genitals or viewing their naked bodies. Once a person goes to jail, all bets are off and a person is subjected to the type of search that the TSA has instituted. The 4th Amendment states (really, really read this) “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I guess that one is out the window if all the government has to say is "safety"

I work in a high rise in a large city. Building security has instituted different security measures for our safety. It’s annoying but reasonable. My belongings are searched before being allowed to enter the elevator bank. Using the government’s “for our own safety” why not send us through machines that take photos of our naked bodies or grope our genitals before we are allowed to enter our offices? Are we to only be safe when traveling? Why not when I enter a high rise or when I go to a concert or a ball game?

A doctor performing an exam that is invasive is NOT for the purpose of detecting illegal contraband unless brought in by the police. The government is performing that invasive search to detect illegal contraband.

Please, really, really read this: “Except in certain narrowly limited cases, the Court repeatedly has stated its 'insist[ence] upon probable cause as a minimum requirement for a reasonable search permitted by the Constitution.' Because '[t]he integrity of an individual's person is a cherished value in our society,' searches that invade bodily integrity cannot be executed as mere fishing expeditions to acquire useful evidence: 'The interests in human dignity and privacy which the Fourth Amendment protects forbid any such intrusions on the mere chance that desired evidence might be obtained.'”

There was this man who had a pee bag (forgive my crude language but I forget the medical term). The TSA agent squeezed the bag and it popped and his urine spilled out. When I read that, I actually gasped in shock and horror. I can’t tell you how bad I felt for that man and how outraged I am that citizens are subjected to such humiliating invasion of privacy. What do they do with a person that has a colostomy bag? What about an adult who is incontinent and wears a diaper? Imagine the humiliation people are going to have to suffer for this false sense of security.

Make no mistake, it is a false sense of security. We understand that TSA body scan would not have detected and does not detect certain items that have already been smuggled on aircraft. Should women be required to remove her tampon to ensure that they have not smuggled something in their tampon? Should we ban tampons from menstruating women who travel by air? We Americans so easily give up basic rights for a false sense of security. How sad and tragic.

bb said...

You are zoning in on “what it feels like.” This whole fiasco goes beyond what it feels like to have the government feel or view our genitals A doctor’s visit cannot be compared to governmental search of our naked bodies or groping. If pulled over by the police, even for their own safety, they are prohibited from performing such an invasive search. Probable cause is needed before groping a suspect’s genitals or viewing their naked bodies. Once a person goes to jail, all bets are off and a person is subjected to the type of search that the TSA has instituted. The 4th Amendment states (really, really read this) “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I guess that one is out the window if all the government has to say is "safety"

I work in a high rise in a large city. Building security has instituted different security measures for our safety. It’s annoying but reasonable. My belongings are searched before being allowed to enter the elevator bank. Using the government’s “for our own safety” why not send us through machines that take photos of our naked bodies or grope our genitals before we are allowed to enter our offices? Are we to only be safe when traveling? Why not when I enter a high rise or when I go to a concert or a ball game?

A doctor performing an exam that is invasive is NOT for the purpose of detecting illegal contraband unless brought in by the police. The government is performing that invasive search to detect illegal contraband.

Please, really, really read this: “Except in certain narrowly limited cases, the Court repeatedly has stated its 'insist[ence] upon probable cause as a minimum requirement for a reasonable search permitted by the Constitution.' Because '[t]he integrity of an individual's person is a cherished value in our society,' searches that invade bodily integrity cannot be executed as mere fishing expeditions to acquire useful evidence: 'The interests in human dignity and privacy which the Fourth Amendment protects forbid any such intrusions on the mere chance that desired evidence might be obtained.'”

There was this man who had a pee bag (forgive my crude language but I forget the medical term). The TSA agent squeezed the bag and it popped and his urine spilled out. When I read that, I actually gasped in shock and horror. I can’t tell you how bad I felt for that man and how outraged I am that citizens are subjected to such humiliating invasion of privacy. What do they do with a person that has a colostomy bag? What about an adult who is incontinent and wears a diaper? Imagine the humiliation people are going to have to suffer for this false sense of security.

Make no mistake, it is a FALSE sense of security. We know the body scan would NOT have detected and does not detect certain items that have already been smuggled on aircraft. We Americans so easily give up basic rights for a false sense of security. How sad and tragic.

bb said...

You are zoning in on “what it feels like.” This whole fiasco goes beyond what it feels like to have the government feel or view our genitals. Cannot compare a doctor’s visit to a government search. Different purpose entirely. Constitution does not protect us from physicians, it protects us from the government. The 4th Amendment states (really, really read this) “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” A doctor performing an exam that is invasive is NOT for the purpose of detecting illegal contraband unless brought in by the police. The government is performing that invasive search to detect illegal contraband.

I work in a high rise in a large city. Building security has instituted different security measures for our safety. It’s annoying but reasonable. My belongings are searched before being allowed to enter the elevator bank. Using the government’s “for our own safety” why not send us through machines that take photos of our naked bodies or grope our genitals before we are allowed to enter our offices? Are we to only be safe when traveling? Why not when I enter a high rise or when I go to a concert or a ball game?

Please, really, really read this: “Except in certain narrowly limited cases, the Court repeatedly has stated its 'insist[ence] upon probable cause as a minimum requirement for a reasonable search permitted by the Constitution.' Because '[t]he integrity of an individual's person is a cherished value in our society,' searches that invade bodily integrity cannot be executed as mere fishing expeditions to acquire useful evidence: 'The interests in human dignity and privacy which the Fourth Amendment protects forbid any such intrusions on the mere chance that desired evidence might be obtained.'”

There was this man who had a pee bag (forgive my crude language but I forget the medical term). The TSA agent squeezed the bag and it popped and his urine spilled out. When I read that, I actually gasped in shock and horror. I can’t tell you how bad I felt for that man and how outraged I am that citizens are subjected to such humiliating invasion of privacy. What do they do with a person that has a colostomy bag? What about an adult who is incontinent and wears a diaper? Imagine the humiliation people are going to have to suffer for this false sense of security.

Make no mistake, it is a false sense of security. We know the body scan would NOT have detected and does not detect certain items that have already been smuggled on aircraft. We Americans so easily give up basic rights for a false sense of security. How sad and tragic.

Doctor D said...

Okay I sat out as long as I could. Time to stir the pot again...

1) Doctor D's Bullshit Detector starts buzzing loudly whenever somebody starts in on the 4th Amendment. We voluntarily relinquish freedoms all the time. I cannot exercise my right to carry a fire arm on a plane either, but I can always exercise my right not to fly commercially. We give up some rights when we ask to enter a crowded plane full of others. No one is breaking down your door and forcing you to fly on commercial jets! You bought the ticket and came to the airport of your own volition so follow the f%&#ing rules!

2) I'm glad to hear you think so highly of the training and professionalism of doctors, but please give the TSA people a break! They are probably sufficiently trained to do what they need. You would be shocked if you knew how little time in medical school is actually spent on professionalism and physical exam skills. Certain skills take a long time to learn, but others are easy. Telling the difference between testicles and weapons probably doesn't take a long time to learn.

3) Exams are done where and how they have to be. I would assume that as the program progresses they will find more private and efficient ways to do the screens. Not all of Dr. D's exams are gentle and behind closed doors. I have cut the clothes off unconscious people on the floor of the waiting room to examine them. It is good to work modestly, but it is most important to work right! And while it is regrettable that a urostomy bag ruptured, I've done it too. Just the other day a patient exclaimed "You're gonna touch my belly when it hurts?" Sorry, I have to check it. ...and the patient erupted vomit and covered both of us. Sorry it sucked for me too, but if you put yourself under my care I have to do my job. Getting messy is sometimes the risk of showing up for the exam.

4) Look, just because an exam doesn't find everything doesn't mean it is useless! I've performed perfectly normal physicals on people in whom we later found life-threatening conditions. The exam is there to catch as many threats as it can.

5) Asking questions (Israeli-style) is a limited approach and will miss things too. As I doctor I can tell you that asking questions AND touching find more trouble than either method alone.

6) To those of you that are all worked up about the lack of proof it works: Be patient! If doctors just started doing physicals last month there wouldn't be any proof they are useful either. Proof takes time. You can't declare something as failed that hasn't been sufficiently tested.

7) I have absolutely NOTHING to say to the racial-profilers who are happy with uncomfortable tests as long as they are done on people who are darker skinned than them. Please leave Dr. D's blog if you are planning to argue that white privilege is the only way to keep America safe!

Okay, I feel so much better after getting all that off my chest!

Aneesa said...

I'll be flying over the holidays too, I'll keep this perspective in mind when I go through the security line. As long as I get to my destination, which means I'm far away from medical school and my brain can recover for a few weeks, I'm good. Thanks for the post!

pegleg3941 said...

FYI, that "body scan" is not from a "body scan." It's from a porn shoot, which is why you can still see the hair.

That still doesn't mean that I will be flying any time soon.

Jane said...

Well said!

Angela said...

My TSA pat-down was worse than a pelvic exam, but only because I was flying with a shingles rash

Anonymous said...

First time I went to a gynecologist as a teen ( I was 18 and naive, he was old and creepy)
He didn't give me a gown to cover with, didn't wear gloves, and for some reason felt a need to press one finger on my clitoris as he performed the exam.
I wasn't sure at the time if this was unusual, but as an adult I would probably stop the exam.
It happens, probably more than you would like to acknowledge.
He is certainly not my gynecologist anymore

Patriot said...

There is a distinct difference between a medical professional doing his job to keep a patient safe, and a G.E.D. holder acting out a gross abuse of power. Do Doctors single out patients for physical exams like the TSA does based upon their desire to see them naked, or touch their bodies for their own sick pleasure? I don't think so. While the TSA may use your example to justify their actions, its bull. Anyone who is actually aware of what is happening in the United States knows that your argument is a croc.

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