Medical Community Question
Posted: 23 April 2010 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This came up today; do patients have a legal right to request a doctor or nurse of the same gender? If so, is there a written law that says so?

I have always seen a female GYN and I am more comfortable with that. The practice asked when I called, if I preferred a male or female doctor. I thought that was fairly standard practice. For reasons of modesty, many woman are comfortable with a woman. I suspect some men are more comfortable speaking with a male doctor about sensitive issues as well.

In conversation today, someone claimed that was gender discrimination and illegal. They said I should cite the law where it says a person can legally request a doctor or nurse of the same gender.

Now I understand in an emergency room, there is no time to be requesting same gender. But as far as choosing a GYN or GP? Or asking that a female nurse be present in the room when a male doctor examines you? I thought that was fairly normal.

I don’t know enough about the law to respond either way. Is it gender discrimination to ask for a female doctor for pelvic exams? Is it wrong? Is there a law stating women (or men) have the right to a same gender doctor or nurse?

Someone claimed during this discussion that asking for a specific gender of medical professional was no different than asking for a specific race of medical professional. I think that’s way off base.

Such a sensitive topic!

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Posted: 23 April 2010 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It would stun me if this were a matter of legal discrimination, for the reasons you raise.

What about if someone wanted help in the fitting room of a clothing store? It strikes me as be absurd to claim discrimination if someone said they wanted a salesperson of the same gender. Can you imagine a salesman claiming that he was being discriminated against for not being allowed to help out?

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Posted: 23 April 2010 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes, Doug. If that happened, thousands of teenage boys would apply for jobs as department store bra-fitting specialists. LOL

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Posted: 23 April 2010 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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If you want an GYN doctor, you should be able to request one. That is not a problem as far as I know, I have a female Gynecologist too. If you have a male Gynecologist, there should be a female nurse in the room when he does his exam. (kinda stupid that it doesn’t go both ways, the female doctor could be a lesbian who gets her jollys off doing what ever abuse a male could do…). If you are in the hospital and request a same sex nurse, we try to accomodate as much as we are able. But believe me, Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington would NOT be sexually attractive to me splayed out on a hospital bed. I am there to do my job, and don’t have time to get my jolly’s from looking at naked patients. LOL

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Posted: 23 April 2010 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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When I request a female doctor, it’s mostly for the GYN. I find that male GYNs always have a nurse present in the room for exams regardless of whether the patient asks for one, probably from a liability standpoint. Only one time have I had a male GYN do an exam without a nurse in the room. That is because I was a teenager at the time and my mother went with me for my first GYN checkup. I was nervous so Mom went in the room with me, and sat by my head facing the opposite way.  LOL

Actually my current female GYN always has her nurse in the room, too. She’s in a very busy practice and her dedicated nurse shadows her, preps slides and whatnot. She’s wonderful, I really like both the doctor and the nurse. They’re also both very funny, which for some reason is really important to me. Puts me at ease.

But I’ve never heard until today someone call asking for a same-gender doctor “gender discrimination.” And never before today have I heard it compared to asking for a doctor of a certain race! I think that’s ridiculous to compare the two. One is a matter of privacy and modesty, and another is a matter of hatred and discrimination.

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Posted: 23 April 2010 11:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’ve never heard that claim either. When I was working the PICU once we had a little child who desperately needed a liver transplant. When a liver became availiable (it was my patient) the father asked the doctor the race of the donor. When the doctor picked her jaw off the floor, she told hime “I refuse to answer that question—do you want the liver , or not!”.  I’ve also heard patients ask NOT to have nurses/doctors of specific race/ethnicity. In the hospital you have no choice!

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Posted: 24 April 2010 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Jules - 23 April 2010 01:15 PM

In conversation today, someone claimed that was gender discrimination and illegal. They said I should cite the law where it says a person can legally request a doctor or nurse of the same gender.

This seems a totally bizarre claim.
Jez, looking at myself.
I am not homophobic in the least, except I demand my three feet of space.
That said, when I go to get a massage, I won’t let a male do it, it is simply too uncomfortable, after all regaining a certain level of comfort is the point of the massage.
I’d probably have a tantrum if someone told me that was wrong and I needed to have a guy massage me, and I’d walk out for sure.

It seems incredible to me that anyone could insinuate that a woman doesn’t have the right to request, expect, demand a female doctor for her examinations.

[ Edited: 24 April 2010 01:45 AM by citizenschallenge ]
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Posted: 24 April 2010 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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A lot of men are like that, CC. I recall prior to my husband’s major surgery in 2006, he had a female nurse attending to most every thing, except for one. They sent a male nurse to insert the catheter prior to surgery. He was a little uncomfortable having another man “handling the goods.” I reassured him that the male nurse was probably no happier about the situation than he was! Society has programmed a lot of men this way.

Then again, many men prefer a male doctor or nurse to discuss confidential things, like prostate problems or erectile problems, which they might feel awkward speaking to a woman about. Talking to “one of the guys” may be more comfortable.

After my first mammogram last week, I can say I am glad it was a female x-ray technician attending! I thought it would be simple - place breast on x-ray machine, compress, snap picture. I sure was wrong! There were all kinds of angles and acrobatics involved, and a lot of physical contact. I must say the attending technician was not friendly though - she was “all business.” I usually like someone with a sense of humor to make things less tense during medical procedures. She wouldn’t crack a smile for anything! She was probably sick to death of cramming breasts into machines a hundred times a day. Whenever I cried “OUCH!” She she’d bark “If you weren’t so tense it wouldn’t hurt!” Then with no smile she’d order me to “RELAX!” I wanted to respond “Yes Ma’am! Sorry Ma’am!” But I had a feeling that if I got sassy, she’d increase the pressure on the machine.
  LOL

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Posted: 24 April 2010 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Jules - 24 April 2010 10:08 AM

I reassured him that the male nurse was probably no happier about the situation than he was!

I like that.  I’ll remember that next I’m being subjected to a doctor’s examination. 
I do visit, but as rarely as possible   smile

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Posted: 24 April 2010 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I have a doctor who is a woman.  That is what I wanted and I don’t think that is going to change.  I hope not at least, because I feel more comfortable with a female doctor examining me than a male.

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Posted: 24 April 2010 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Jules - 23 April 2010 01:15 PM

... do patients have a legal right to request a doctor or nurse of the same gender? If so, is there a written law that says so?...They said I should cite the law where it says a person can legally request a doctor or nurse of the same gender.

Here are two you can cite for them.

First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:

Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble…

You have the legal right to assemble with whomever you want.  That includes a doctor or nurse of your choosing, including your choosing their gender.

Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 

You are not the doctor’s slave.  You can come and go as you please, including searching for another doctor for any reasons you see fit.  You are a free human being. 

Case closed.  The person you had the conversation with is wrong.  They are allowing their blind political correctness to trump your personal freedom guaranteed to you in the Constitution.

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