The OB rotation includes the requirement that medical students participate in 'exams under anesthesia', which are completed in almost all surgical specialties. Orthopedics is another rotation where you can learn a lot from these situations.
In OB, though, I'm not so sure it's so straightforward. Technically, we're performing an extra, and theoretically unnecessary pelvic exam. That's a bit different than an extra knee exam. And this with the patient unresponsive.
ACOG, the governing body of OB, says that exams under anesthesia are allowable with specific consent. But, like all things that involve consent, they are put on the form but not typically discussed in length. How many people would consent if you said, 'is it OK if the med student performs and extra exam on you while you're out?' Probably, some would, or even most, since many are open to helping education.
I completed these because, even though it felt weird, I would've had to cause a big stink to not do it. But ethically, we've been taught that we should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Does this count? Is this something that is emotionally important enough to specifically discuss in consent? Or am I just uncomfortable? Probably I'm just uncomfortable.
There are a lot of times when we inconvenience patients for educational purposes. I think the way to deal with that is to recognize the debt you owe to all patients for those that helped you learn, and repay that debt with quality care.
But those exams still make me uncomfortable.