Medical students sometimes perform procedures on fellow students in a practice known as "peer physical examination." But as the Orlando Sentinel notes, groups such as the US National Library of Medicine say clearer guidelines are needed. This lawsuit might speed things along: Two medical diagnostic students have sued Valencia College in Florida and say they were forced to have transvaginal ultrasound exams. Though school policy said the exams weren't mandatory, the women say they were punished with lower grades and were blacklisted from future employers when they complained. "Valencia positioned these transvaginal probes as voluntary, but its actual policy and practice was that they were not," according to the lawsuit, which singles out three female instructors.
It says one of those instructors told one of the plaintiffs that she was "sexy" during the exam and that she should have been an "escort girl," reports CNN. The students describe the experience as humiliating and embarrassing because they were forced to disrobe and undergo the exam—described as a "forced probing of the sexual organs"—with little privacy. The lawsuit says both have left the program. The school has issued a statement that avoids the specifics of the allegations but says that "Valencia’s sonography program has upheld the highest standards." It adds that "we continue to review this practice and others to ensure that they are effective and appropriate for the learning environment.” (Read more transvaginal ultrasound stories.)