Medical studies: Practising on other students

Litigation has arisen from a diagnostic medical sonongraphy course, in which students were  provided with “with opportunities to learn and practice their skills in discreet and supervised laboratory settings, including voluntary participation in transvaginal ultrasound scans.”

The transvaginal ultrasound scanning component, involving fellow students, was suspended and has now been permanently discontinued.

The litigation Milward & Ors v Shaheen & Ors, Board of Trustees of Valencia College Florida  arose as the applicants said that although the College presented the transvaginal ultrasound practice as voluntary,  in practice it was mandatory.

The District Court interlocutory order addressed the defendants’ application to dismiss the matter, which was ultimately successful. The focus of the decision appears to have been the legal merits of the claim, rather than a determination of the factual allegations.

It was reported this week that the student applicants have filed an appeal and that various amicus curiae briefs have been filed.

In Australia, Sydney University for example has a protocol on medical students performing examinations and procedures on one another. That protocol indicates that intimate examinations should not occur.

With thanks to Cristina Pelkas for drawing this decision to my attention.

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