Sarah Silverman said a male doctor touched her breasts without gloves, and we need to talk about this
Although we’d like to believe that all doctors are 100% professional at all times, the unfortunate reality is that some medical interactions are less-than-ideal, and some doctors take advantage of their positions. In a February 6th Instagram post, comedian Sarah Silverman opened up about an unpleasant mammogram experience she recently had, highlighting the importance of speaking up if a medical professional makes you feel uncomfortable.
Silverman revealed that a male doctor didn’t use gloves when applying gel to her bare breasts, and that his fingers continually grazed her skin as he performed an ultrasound. Silverman also noted that the same doctor did this at her appointment in 2018, and when she voiced her discomfort, he said he did so for “balance.”
I had a shitty time at my mammogram appt today. I have to get an ultrasound after my mammograms because I have dense breasts (insert joke here) and this radiologist — the same man I had last year — I do not like him and here is why: He opened my gown and put gel on my breasts and smeared it around with his bare hands. Then he started talking to me about my chest X-ray (I also got a chest X-Ray) and was pontificating with my boobs just out and covered in gel and cold and finally I said “Hey-can we either talk about this when I’m dressed or WHILE your doing the ultrasound? I’m not comfortable with my breasts out just shooting the shit with you” Okay so — he smears the gel on with his hands and NO GLOVES on and when he glides the ultrasound wand thing over my breasts he drags his fingers on them and it fucking bothers me. Again, AS I TOLD HIM LAST YEAR, I said “Hey! Do you need to be touching me with your fingers?” He said “No”. And he pulled them off of me. Then he added “I do that for balance.” I said “Well I believe in you and I think you can do with without your fingers on me” Look, I truly don’t think he was getting off on it, BUT it is his job to be aware that this is vulnerable for a woman. Wear fucking GLOVES – this isn’t a date. For him to be so arrogant that he didn’t even internalize the problem when I said something to him about it last year is obnoxious and probably a subconscious power thing if we’re getting deep. That was my last mammogram with this dude. Or any dude. Look. I’m a grown woman and I’m fine. But this guy does this with everyone and I know that personally it took many years into adulthood before I spoke up for myself. It’s uncomfortable and too easy to think it’s all in your head. And arrogant fucks like this doctor take advantage of women’s socialized instinct to not speak up. All this to say speak up. Trust that thing in your gut that tells you this shit ain’t right.
“Look, I truly don’t think he was getting off on it, BUT it is his job to be aware that this is vulnerable for a woman,” she wrote. “Wear f*cking GLOVES – this isn’t a date. For him to be so arrogant that he didn’t even internalize the problem when I said something to him about it last year is obnoxious and probably a subconscious power thing if we’re getting deep. […] That was my last mammogram with this dude. Or any dude,” she concluded.
Thankfully, Silverman wrote that she was fine, but she ended her post by pointing out how important it is to say something if your doctor ever makes you uncomfortable. “Trust that thing in your gut that tells you this sh*t ain’t right,” she urged her followers.
Silverman’s reminder is absolutely essential. As Rachael Denhollander explained in her January 2018 testimony against Larry Nassar, the former U.S. Gymnastics doctor indicted for sexually abusing his patients, it can be easy to ignore your gut feelings out of a belief that physicians are inherently trustworthy. But it is always okay to speak up when something doesn’t feel right.
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