Moms of Sons , Your Opinion Please. Upset at Pediatricians

Updated on May 15, 2013
B.W. asks from Natick, MA
25 answers

Dear all

I had a disturbing visit to the pediatrician yesterday. I took both my kids for a wellness checkup, their usual doc is off on maternity leave and so we had someone new to us. My son is seven and had to strip done to socks and underpants for his check up. The doc came in and did an exam on the table , flexing legs etc. The the doc sat down on the swivel stool and asked my son to step down from the table. He pulled ,y son towards him and put his hand down the front of his pants and did a genital check. I was very taken aback at the sight of the doc examine my son there. He gave us no warning and just said while doing it " it is ok if docs do this". after, he turned to me and said " seven year olds have fidgety testicles". I was speechless and felt quit upset.

In previous check ups the pediatricians have just had a peek and checked both testes were descended. they were gentle and said to him beforehand what they were going to do and explained about how others must not touch there. This seemed a bit rough and I don,t like how he reached into his undies.

I watched him like a hawk when he examined my daughter but that was not problematic to me.

Moms of sons who have had a seven year check up, have you witnessed this? is this regular procedure or do you think the touching and manipulation was unnecessary? Am I being sensitive ? My son said that " it was rude " to the doc but seems otherwise fine. However it really upset ME and I am the calmest mom you'll ever meet. I have never even posted for advice before.

Much thanks for your advice

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So What Happened?

Thanks everybody. From your feedback I think that this was routine but the bedside manner is definitely in question. Some of you mentioned that I did not mention anything at the time. I was so deeply shocked and honestly thought I might lose it and burst into tears or get the doc around the neck. I have kept it all very low key around my son.

I will write a letter of complaint to the practice and will request not to see him again.

Featured Answers



answers from Anchorage on

How can you tell with a glance that all is ok? The doctor needs to feel in order to access genital health, this is normal.

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answers from St. Louis on

I never really asked what they were examining but that has been part of both my son's exams since they were very little.

Has it occurred to you that your other pediatrician has been giving a poor exam that could miss serious issues?

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

Procedure is fine, manner of execution is inexcusable. I would be pissed beyond belief and let the clinic administrator know about it!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Wow! I'm upset just reading this. Whatever the reason this doctor had for his behavior, he is teaching his patients that being touched without warning before the touching is ok. Of course, it is not. So this is your turn to model for your son that you strongly feel that he should always be warned before he is touched, unless it is an emergency in the hospital. Call the office and speak to this doctor about your perceptions. It may make him a better doctor. It certainly will help your son be sure of what he should expect and what he should reject. All my best.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

It sounds like this doctor skipped the chapters on bedside manner in medical school. My boys' doctor has always been very professional and talked with my son before ever touching him. He would explain that the only people allowed to touch him like that is a doctor or Mom and Dad if there is something hurting, etc. It sounds like he was very abrupt but didn't actually do anything truly wrong.


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Completely normal. Thank goodness he didn't find anything the other doc has been missing. It's good that he did this check. I think perhaps you didn't like not knowing but it seemed from what you said that he was talking to your son when he was doing this so he was trying to make him comfortable.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My son's doctor says "if it's okay with your mom and you I need to look" My kid is usually fidgety but the Dr tries to check him out quick. Come to think of it the doctor usually warms my kid before they do anything, not just private parts but listening to his lungs or checking in his ears.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

I would be ripped! I have never had the doctor do such a think during my son's checkup. I would make sure that my usual doctor were in before I took him next time. My doctor is very good about explaining exactly what he was going to do before hand and allowing me to speak to my son before the procedure. My husband now goes with my son to his exams.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I have a son.
The Pediatrician does not inspect him that way.
And he does not have to strip down naked.
My son is 6.
Our Pediatrician is always more gentle... giving verbal forewarning etc.
And ours is a Male, Pediatrician.

At least, your son spoke up.
You could have, right there, in a calm manner, ASK the Doc if he had to do it that way.
I would have.

The Doc, seems to have, no....bedside manner.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You are not being sensitive to the doc's bedside manner, which sounds seriously lacking, especially for someone who's working with kids. The exam/check itself is normal enough. Good for your son for calling the doctor on this!

I sense strongly that a parent's reaction can strongly influence whether or how deeply an experience can affect a child emotionally, so I hope that your son sees you being calm and speaking about the event in a factual way, not a stressed or tearful way. My daughter was inappropriately touched in 5th grade by a school employee. She was hesitant to even tell me about it because she didn't want this "nice man" to get in trouble. But the school learned about it from another girl who had also been fondled, and eventually called me to tell me what they had learned. (Of course he was fired immediately.)

But I talked this over calmly with my daughter to gauge how she felt about the violation (all exterior, through underwear), and what to do in the future (we had already had some "bad touch" talks). Of course I was horrified, having been molested by a step father at a similar age, but we kept the content of this talk about HER feelings and reactions. I was prepared to take her for counseling immediately. But to her, it was just a creepy touch, and she removed herself from the situation quickly, and she was basically fine.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yes we had this proceedure. Our female doctor told both of us before it was done. It may just be that this male doctor didn't think about it since he is a male doctor....

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Honestly, I DONT' LIKE HOW that pediatrician examined your little boy.
I don't think it is appropriate even if it is a routine examination. I have 2 boys (13,7) and they have a female pediatrician, she has wonderful bedside manners. First, she tells my kids in advance what is going to happen and how she is going to examine them, she touch them in a very delicate way telling my kids: "I am going to examine your testicles to check if they are the way it supposed to be, and there are no problems. I can do this because your mom is H. also. Let me know if you feel uncomfortable or hurts." That is the way a doctor should always approach young patients. I am happy with the pediatrician, she is competent, professional, respectful and kind.
Last word, no matter what others say, I don't think your kids need to be exposed to these unprofessional physicians. Let the doctors' office or practice know about this.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree - checking in itself is acceptable. Doing so roughly and without warning is not, nor is making weird comments about fidgety testicles. Ew.

My son will go for his six year checkup in a couple of weeks. I'll have to see what his doc does then.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I agree wholeheartedly about what you said in your SWH. You should NOT have said anything in the exam. It would have upset your son. DO complain up to the roof afterwards.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

That is normal but even my son's urologist each time he checks him ask permission from him before he does anything. And makes sure he knows it's only ok because my husband and myself are there. And their pedi does the same thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The doctor's attitude may not be the best but not worthy of complaining. By the age of 7, the child and mother should be used to that part of the examination.

I think the point has missed here... It should be more upsetting that the regular pediatrician wasn't including that in his exams. If you're going to write a letter and complain, then complain about your child mot receiving thorough examinations.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

My son's doctor says "I need to check your testicles now, do you want to remove your undershorts or just pull them down?"

Well.. he used to say that. I step out of the room now, so I'm not sure the exact verbage... but he gives him a verbal warning that the exam is about to move to a more private/sensitive area. And I think that is fair and all that is needed.

I don't think I would raise a huge stink, but a short note that his bedside manner could use improvement when it comes to "warning" about moving on to the more private parts of the exam might be in order.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My boys are 9 and 15, and they have both always had that part of the exam performed (I don't stay in there for that part with my 15yo anymore), but our doctor always explains what he is going to do first. It sounds like that doctor has no bedside manner, and I would not be happy at all if I were you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

This is an issue of bedside manner, not of your Dr. being creepy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

he was brusque and somewhat discourteous, but from all the flapping and squawking on riley's follow-up, i expected something far worse.
if i got as outraged as most young mamas today, i'd never have time for anything but outrage.
;) khairete

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son is only 4 so I haven't had to endure that check yet. But it sounds like this doc is just insensitive. Maybe a little too rough, he should have at least prepared you and your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Normal but just a very different approach than what you are used to. Me tion it next it e to your regular doctor, it i would not write a nasty letter. If you are going to write it just state while you are upset. Short and sweet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I know you already have posts and all but I have to say this is a bit distrubing. I've never had that happen. He was rude and you have to wonder if he got off on it by the way you describe it, maybe he likes little boys. There are people like that as disgusting as it sounds, unfortuantely. Writing a complaint is defintely called for here.

I don't like it for your son and I don't like hearing about this at all.

As for the post below, you didn't say the other ped. doesn't examine your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think it's partially a difference in a male pdeitrician and a female. I loved our female ped! The one male they ever went to I hated and change within 3 weeks of birth.



answers from Boca Raton on

I don't remember my peds every behaving that way with my sons either - sounds really strange and disconcerting to me.

I also reject the idea that kids have to go through this type of thing very often. How in the world did mankind evolve to this point without "well-child" check-ups every YEAR (which is what it seems like we're moving toward)?

Good grief.

I would have reacted exactly the way that you did. And I think you did the right thing staying low-key with your son. No need to make it worse.

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