Lawsuit tossed in Florida ultrasound-training case

Last May, three female students in an ultrasound technologist program sued Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., alleging two professors forced them to undergo vaginal sonograms in class. A federal judge has now thrown out the suit.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell wrote in a 10-page order issued Oct. 28 that the actions of Valencia, a state school, were protected by qualified immunity.

He further stated that the school’s intent was to “maintain its unique program and educate students on how to perform trans-vaginal ultrasounds,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The students, who quit the associate’s degree program after filing the suit, sought damages for the money they spent on tuition and other school expenses.

Presnell’s order granted Valencia’s motion to dismiss the suit with prejudice, meaning that the students may not re-file.

The ruling also stated that Valencia and its professors are tasked with teaching “knowledge, values, and experience, so that their sonography students can become valued and reliable members of the medical community upon graduation. It is with this purpose that they allowed students to participate in clinical exercises intended to increase their competency in performing trans-vaginal ultrasounds by practicing on each other.”

The college banned on-campus peer physical exam sessions soon after the suit was filed.

A spokesman told the Sentinel that Valencia is working with local hospitals and doctors to set up offsite practice sessions in clinical settings.