Gender Care Discrimination Against Male Patients

Something that is not addressed is that male patients are discriminated against in same sex gender care options. Options—there are none. Over 90% of hospital staff are female. In some areas of the US, that may be even higher. For years, men have had to suffer through having no option for same gender care even the court system says every patient is entitled to same gender care for intimate procedures. How many male nurses do you see in L&D? How many male mammographers do you see? However, for males needing a prostatic ultrasound, most likely the tech will be a female. If male ob-gyn attends to a female patient, then most likely a chaperone will be used and that chaperone will be female. However, for male urologist who attend a male patient that chaperone will be a female. Most males feel ambushed and/or violated by having a female present who just basically watches the exam.The intimate exam is also done differently. A female is generally told by the female nurse to remove all clothing and change into a gown and the doctor will return for the exam. The nurse leaves the room as the female patient changes. The doctor enters and usually there is a drape put into place and the nurse stands to the side if she is present. Once the exam is done, they leave and the patient cleans up and dresses before any talk is initiated.For male patients that I have spoken to their exam happens very differently. The doctor enters with a female audience member. He will be told to remove his shirt in front of them and can put it back on once the doctor is done. Next, the doctor generally tells them to drop his pants and underwear around his ankles while standing in front of the doctor. He does the frontal exam as the female audience just stands and watches. The patient is then told to turn around and bend over usually the exam table all the while looking like an awkward clown trying not to trip on his pants/underwear around his ankles. Afterwards he is told to clean up and pull up his clothes all the while with the audience present.The paints a very vivid difference in how some healthcare aspects are delivered differently to male and female patients. There is a glaring difference in the compassionate and bodily privacy respect aspect between the two genders. Many males find this routine to be totally degrading. I, as a female, would not tolerate it. Many males do not seek healthcare because they do feel violated.The medical “professional” will say things like “we have seen it all before”, “you don’t have something I haven’t seen before”, “suck it up”, or other things that do nothing to reassure a patient. In fact, dismissing a patient’s requirement for personal dignity does nothing but make the situation worse. Of course, it is not an issue for the medical person as they are not the one being exposed. Furthermore, it is an issue for many of them as they seek their healthcare elsewhere as many of them feel uncomfortable having their genitals exposed to their co-workers so it does not matter them. But for you, it doesn’t matter.For in-hospital male patients, most intimate care will be delivered by a female staff member. Sometimes because they have no compassion or respect for your personal dignity, they will bring along another member to chat with as you are being exposed. Because your exposure only matters to you is the message they are sending. They don’t care. Not caring, is why they make not draw the curtain or only uncover areas as needed. Some female nurses also get a thrill of power and control when lording over a defenseless male patient. What many patients do not know is you are in control of your body. Not them. You have the right to say who is involved in your treatment and the extent of their involvement. If you want same gender care, then every effort must be made to provide it to you. If not, perhaps your spouse or someone of your choosing can do it for you. If you are having surgery scheduled, you have the right to request a same gender care team. The hospital is obligated to let you know if they can so you can choose to proceed or not. Inappropriate sexual actions do not just happen to female patients by male doctors/staff. Male patients can be sexually assaulted by female staff. In the age of #MeToo, there seems to be an anger towards men that can very easily be transferred to male patients especially if they are drugged by sedation. Female staff have been in media stories for taking pictures with their personal cell phones of male patient’s genitals, other sexual acts, nurse humiliating a drugged male patient by having him unnecessarily exposed and forcing him to use a bedpan and being wiped like a baby in front of her chosen audience members, etc. However, for male patients it is very difficult to prove these accusations because society as a whole has not caught up. Many do not believe a female nurse would assault a male patient but in turn they would believe a male nurse would assault a female patient. This type of attitude makes this type of assault grow and flourish because they know they can get away with it. While the system is not perfect in preventing assault of female patients, at least they recourse avenue is somewhat better. For males, there is no recourse and discrimination against male patients seems to be totally acceptable. In fact, government, law enforcement, the general public, and the medical industry seems to be complicit in keeping the discriminatory practices against males patients alive and well.

2 Replies to “Gender Care Discrimination Against Male Patients”

  1. What you are describing here is the “strip as you go” exam for male patients. This is very humiliating and disrespectful. It is one of the reasons men stay away from the doctor. I have been subjected to it in the past, but I will not tolerate it in the future. It is unfortunate that men have to experience abuse to find their voice in objecting. I have to keep my guard up all the time in a healthcare setting, even when things seem to be going well it can turn bad in an instant.

    1. You’re right–it is very humiliating. As I was in there, there was no nurse. After we left the appt., I asked him what he thought. He said this was the way it was always done in all the years he had had these exams done. He went to say he didn’t like it but it was just the way. I told him that it didn’t have to be–ask for a gown. He said he didn’t like to be difficult and that he didn’t even know if they had gowns. I told him it is not being difficult. I also told him it should be a safety concern as it actually puts the patient in an unsafe position of having to move with their clothes trapped around their feet and plus it is just germy to have your clothes on that floor. I asked if there was usually a nurse/office person in there and he said yes but he thought bc I was there wasn’t one. So for the remainder of his appts. he would ask for a gown and get a look of “really?” but no comment and a gown. He said that did make him feel better. Being gowned the whole process changed. I have a feeling that for other men in any of the practices he did visit still are subjected to this very humiliating ritual.

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