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Unusual/Unorthodox Gyno visit
Aug 13, 2012

Hi Dr, Im sorry if this is not correctly categorized, but I wasnt exactly sure where to post this odd question, and I dont expect that you can necessarily address every aspect of the following event/scenarioI will explain the situation so that you understand the context in which my question is contained-- my main concern is mode of transmission for STD/HIV/HEP C. I am hoping that you can/will answer this perplexing question for me! I recently had an appt with a new Gyno Dr.during the pap exam, she removed the metal speculum momentarily (before completely finishing the pap smear) and rested/propped the metal speculum tool in a nearby sink, (the exam was interrupted by the fact that she said she was having trouble locating my cervix and needed to find it manually with her hand, and then she could continue the pap smear). I thought that was a little unusual, but what I truly wasnt expecting was for her to pick that same speculum back up that had been placed in the sink-- but she did-- in order to finish the pap smear. This struck me odd, as how clean could that sink have been? --Though it appeared to be fairly clean and dry. I just wouldn't think that "best practice" would include placing something like this in a sink and then using it on a patient. Why not get a new speculum, and why didnt I ask for one? I dont know, it happened so fast and I didnt know what to think until later after I had left. What type of germs could have been hanging out in that sink that could potentially pose a health risk? Should I be concerned about the cleanliness or sterile practices of this office? I don't plan on returning most likely, either way, but my main question is: Should I be concerned about STD's/HEP C, and/or especially HIV etc being transmitted to me from the speculum that had been placed in what I can only assume was an unclean sink?? Perhaps she places other patients specs in the sink too before properly placing them under the sink in the bucket(where they belong) and which is where I noticed this spec tool eventually landed. If other used speculum tools had been previously placed in the sink and then removed, before my appt, could the STD bacteria/virus contaminants/germs be transferred to me via the contaminated sink and speculum? Thank you very much in advance for your consideration and advice.....

Response from Dr. Wohl

I agree this was not good clinical practice but there is no risk of HIV or other STD transmission from this type of exposure. DW



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