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Date Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2009, 11:37: am
The liberal use of the glass rectal thermometer to take kids temperatures was considered normal 50 years ago at many doctors offices, clinics, especially at military service clinics: rectal temperatures were taken in plain view of the waiting room, a mix of a rectal and multiple oral temperatures were taken concurrently in the same confined area, glass thermometers were the only available thermometers available, etc. There were cutoff ages where rectal temperatures were required, usually at the age of 5 or 6, yet some older ones were selected for rectal temps for reasons like colds, drinking cold liquids, and other reasons. Since adult were given consideration of privacy and kids were not, it could be assumed that the unmasking of a kids behind and either taking a temperature rectally or given a shot in plain view of an common area, that privacy was a non-issue for kids.
It was obvious that many nurses were biased toward taking kids temperatures rectally and when an opportunity presented itself, the nurse would be pleased to perform the task. Suffice it to say that the experience has had a lifetime effect on the kids that experienced it either as patients getting their temperatures taken and/or observing kids having their temperatures taken.
By the way, the same can be said of childhood enemas, suppositories, shots, physicals, etc. The difference between these medical procedures and taking temperatures rectally with glass thermometers, is that the other procedures are still used extensively and will continue to affect kids growing up, creating an assortment of medical fetishes. With the very few doctors offices and clinics that still use glass thermometers (especially with those that have limited privacy), it can be expected that this fetish will come to an end (at least in the North American continent).
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