Original articles

Professionalism and the intimate examination - are chaperones the answer?

Ames Dhai, Jillian Gardner, Yolande Guidozzi, Graham Howarth, Merryll Vorster


Complaints of sexual impropriety against healthcare practitioners are escalating. Professionalism in the practitioner-patient relationship and the role-based trust in health care do not allow crossing of sexual boundaries. Communication with patients is key to prevent erroneous allegations of sexual misconduct. The intimate examination is difficult to define. A chaperone present during an intimate examination protects the patient and practitioner and should be considered a risk reduction strategy in practice.

Authors' affiliations

Ames Dhai, University of the Witwatersrand

Jillian Gardner,

Yolande Guidozzi,

Graham Howarth,

Merryll Vorster,

Full Text



trust, professionalism, communication, intimate examination, chaperone

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(11):814-816.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-06-07
Date published: 2011-11-01

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