After working for 40 years as an obstetrician and gynecologist, the term “virgin speculum” put me off (The ‘virgin speculum’: evidence that medicine is still full of ugly myths about women, 19 January). Idle and stupid. But it is unfortunate that many people are unable to use their language effectively and efficiently.
In German we call a small speculum speculum child (child speculum) – still no better than the misleading term “virgin speculum”.
As gynecologists, we have to be able to deal with very sensitive issues, and if we can’t use accurate, non-offensive words, we shouldn’t be practicing medicine. Human dignity is indivisible.
Dr Turkey Michael Blees
Hachenburg, Westerwaldkreis, Germany
Calling a small speculum a “virgin speculum” is a bit of a stretch, as it is. The most important thing is the personality and kindness of the person taking the test. I lay on the table behind the curtain, crying my eyes out because of the pain and shame after trying to do the cervical test, while the woman who hurt me was staring at her computer angrily, showing that she didn’t like me as she could see everything. It was my fault that he didn’t finish the exam.
I wish they would have given me a little advice, something other than to hit me hard and tell me to relax. I’ve been a lifelong supporter of cervical screening, but I haven’t gone back since.
The Camp, Gloucestershire