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Editor,—Torrance et al reported on genitourinary physicians' experience in the use of chaperones in clinics of genitourinary medicine,1 and Bignell broadened the debate and suggested further study of whether male genital examinations should be more frequently chaperoned.2 We have carried out a small prospective questionnaire study of new male patients inquiring both about the sex of the examining doctor and the preference for a chaperone.
In all, 94 patients were questioned by either KB or CM following clinical examination. Eighty six patients were examined by a male doctor, and eight by a female doctor. Two of the male doctor's patients would have preferred a female doctor, but none of the female doctor's patients, although small in number, would have preferred a male. Fifty two patients were chaperoned and one patient subsequently decided he would have preferred not to have been. None of the 42 unchaperoned patients would have preferred a chaperone to be present, and the sex of the chaperone did not appear to be important, although in this small study a female chaperone was present with a female doctor on only two occasions.
The number and percentage of patients who were satisfied to be examined with a chaperone present according to the sex of the doctor and the chaperone, are summarised in table 1.
In conclusion, it appears in this study that our male patients generally feel comfortable with genital examinations by doctors of either sex, and they do not express the desire for a chaperone to be present. We obviously have not addressed the issue of whether or not it may be desirable from the doctor's point of view for a chaperone to be present.3
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