When a 33-year-old woman visited physiotherapist Michael Leth at Töreboda hospital in southern Sweden she was expecting help to diagnose a problem with her right knee.
After a serious of invasive questions and an examination that included a close inspection of her ovaries and the instruction to pull up her top and insert her fingers below her pantie line, she was left feeling violated and reported Leth to the Medical Responsibility Board (HSAN).
Leth has now been cautioned by the board for his conduct despite his protestations that he was simply following his training and conducting a broader examination of the patient’s body in order to uncover the cause of her pain.
The woman approached Leth because doctors at the Töreboda clinic had not been able to do anything about the pain in her right knee.
In her report, the patient said that Leth introduced himself and asked for her name and identification number. He then went on to ask her about her menstrual cycle, her choice of contraception, how many children she had and whether she planned to have any more.
Leth then informed her that tendons connected her ovaries with her knee and that he would examine her ovaries and possibly also her rectum in order to trace the pain in her knee.
At this point the patient reported to the board that she considered leaving the room but decided to remain as she was keen to be rid of the pain in her knee.
She was then told by Leth to strip off her trousers and lie on her back. It was after an examination of her knee that he asked her to lift her top and place her fingers inside the line of her panties while he began to knead the region around her ovaries profusely.
Leth then ended the examination by concluding that the patient had some weakness on the inside of her knee and prescribed a few exercises.
The 33-year-old was left feeling violated by the examination and no closer to finding the source of her pain. She decided to report Leth to Töreboda local health authority and the matter was passed on to HSAN.
Leth protested to the board that his examination was in keeping with his osteopathic training and that he was motivated only by his desire to develop an exact diagnosis of the patient’s knee problem.
But the board of learned medical professionals found no scientific basis for Leth’s explanation and rejected his claim that the personal nature of his questions, the close inspection of the young woman’s ovaries and the proposed examination of her rectum had any connection to pain in her right knee.
“Michael Leth has neglected his duties as a professional. The mistake is neither minor nor excusable and should be disciplined in the form of a caution,” the board ruled.