Mr. B, a 33-year-old Guyanese construction worker, was rushed to an emergency department (ED) with a head injury caused by falling debris at the construction site where he was working.

Ms. H, a 39-year-old nurse practitioner, and a female ED physician, Dr. L, rushed to examine the head wound. The wound was deep and required eight stitches, but the clinicians were more concerned about potential spinal damage that may have resulted from the injury. 

As Dr. L stepped out to sign some paperwork, Ms. H told the patient that they were going to perform a rectal exam to make sure that he did not have any injury to his spine. The patient immediately became upset and told Ms. H that he did not want a rectal exam. Ms. H tried again to explain the necessity of the exam.


This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor