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Informed consent legislation set for state Senate vote

Tom Byrne
Delaware Public Media

Legislation telling patients about some medical exams done while unconscious could pass the state Senate Sunday.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Krista Griffith, would require medical providers to inform patients ahead of time if they will get a pelvic, rectal or prostate exam while anesthetized or unconscious.

For decades, medical students have practiced pelvic exams on anesthetized women. But Griffith said her bill aims to make sure patients sign off first.

“And I think the actual resident or med student might feel a little uncomfortable wondering ‘You know, that was a good learning experience for me, but did that patient actually give me consent,'" she said. "So I think that this bill strikes that appropriate balance.”

The Medical Society of Delaware says it supports the legislation. It passed the House unanimously. Several states have passed or are considering informed consent legislation, such as Utah, New York and Massachusetts.

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