A woman is suing a medical center in Libertyville, Illinois, for ‘physically abusing’ her with a transvaginal probe causing internal injuries and leaving her with recurring nightmares.
Marianne Keith, 52, who is not pictured in this story, went to the Advocate Condell Medical Center with severe abdominal pain in February.
The physician recommended that she have a transvaginal ultrasound to diagnose the problem.
The procedure is normally used by doctors to detect a fetal heartbeat early in a pregnancy.
According to Keith, a full hour of brutal physical abuse ensued that left her with internal injuries and recurring nightmares.
‘It felt like I was being raped,’ she told The Huffington Post. ‘Like somebody was intentionally hurting me.’
Keith, who has sued the center for medical battery, claims in the lawsuit that the hospital technician ‘repeatedly jammed the probe in to various internal portions of [her] vagina, including her cervix’, for an hour.
She says she suffered physical injuries to her vagina and cervix and continues to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘I have nightmares about being trapped and going through this procedure again,’ she said.
She also admitted that she has stopped having intimacy with her husband because ‘I don’t want anybody touching me’.
She said she ‘can’t even go to the doctor anymore’.
A spokesperson for the Advocate Condell Medical Center said it does not comment on pending lawsuits.
Transvaginal ultrasounds have made headlines in the past few years because several states have debated or passed legislation forcing women to undergo the procedure before getting an abortion.
Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, said half of the 10 states that have mandatory ultrasound laws require a vaginal ultrasound because those laws mandate making the fetal heartbeat audible or require specific information for gestational age.
‘Early in pregnancy, the only way to make the fetal heartbeat audible is to use a transvaginal ultrasound,’ said Nash to the The Huffington Post.
The four states with laws implicitly requiring transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions are Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Virginia lawmakers had a high-profile debate in 2012 over mandating the procedure for such women.
Democrats likened the procedure to “state-sponsored rape,” prompting Republicans to rewrite the bill to allow women to opt out.