A 52-year-old woman is suing Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., for medical battery after a transvaginal ultrasound left her with “internal injuries and recurring nightmares.” In the lawsuit, she claims that a checkup for abdominal pain turned into a full hour of brutal physical abuse when the hospital technician "repeatedly jammed the probe into various internal portions of [her] vagina, including her cervix.” The procedure, which is used routinely in obstetrics and gynecology, continues to haunt her in the form of post-traumatic stress, she says.
The incident reportedly took place in February this year. The Huffington Post reports that when Marianne Keith came into Advocate Condell Medical Center with severe stomach pain, doctors recommended a transvaginal ultrasound – a procedure that uses ultrasonography to image the pelvic organs. An essential component of early prenatal care, the ultrasound is also applied for diagnostic purposes, as it can also detect abnormalities in the area.
According to Keith, the situation took a dark turn shortly after the hospital technician began the procedure.
"After I left the hospital, I knew by how much pain I was in that something was done to me," she told reporters. "It felt like I was being raped."
After some time, the emotional trauma became too much, and Keith decided to take legal action against the healthcare provider. Today, ubiquitous triggers cause her to relive the situation over and over again in her own home, and she’s still afraid of going to the hospital.
"I have nightmares about being trapped and going through this procedure again. I have so many triggers -- watching television, and whenever a woman is hurt or raped or something happens on TV, I think about it again,” she explained. “My husband and I don't have any type of intimacy, because I don't want anybody touching me. I have physical things that are the matter with me, and I can’t even go to the doctor anymore."
Keith also stressed that she has had the procedure several times in the past, during fertility treatments. While she didn’t care for them either, she says the February incident was a particularly abusive experience.
"Even if it's done the way that it should be done, it's so intrusive,” she said.
Advocate Condell Medical Center has not commented on the pending lawsuit.