Female Patients To Prevent Sexual Abuse In Medical Settings
In society, girls and women are always given tips
on how to protect themselves from sexual abuse, but you rarely hear
about how to prevent sexual abuse in medical settings. Sexual abuse
in medical settings is more common than many people realize. A
woman is at far greater risk of becoming a victim of sexual abuse
at the hands of a male doctor or male nurse especially gynecologist
than she is from men in the general population she may encounter
on the street.
If you look through medical boards and newspapers
in the United States, you will notice that some doctors and nurses
have been accused of sexual misconduct. There are many unreported
cases because patients are afraid to speak up about the abuse they
experienced because they know that it is very easy for doctors and
nurses to get away with wrongdoing. Most women would be too embarrassed
or ashamed to report sexual abuse by a medical professional or brush
it aside feeling the medical care they received was worth the abuse.
It is harder for a woman to report her doctor if he helped her through
a difficult time such as miscarriage, infertility, or cancer and/or
he gave her a special discount for procedures. Some doctors that
have committed sexual misconduct have continued to practice.
1.) It is best for a female patient to
never go to a male gynecologist. If you already have a
male gynecologist, you should look at switching to a female gynecologist.
There are so many good female ob/gyns you could choose from. If
your area doesn't have any female ob/gyns, you should check into
having a female Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant do your
women's health examinations. If you do research, you will find cases
of sexual abuse by male gynecologists all over the US. You are in
a very vulnerable position when you let a male doctor do intimate
procedures on you. Having a nurse or an assistant present in the
room with the doctor doesn't guarantee that nothing inappropriate
would happen to you. Remember that the nurse or assistant is present
to "protect" the doctor and will often be on the doctor's
side. There have been cases where female patients felt the male
doctor went too far, but the nurse or assistant felt he was simply
doing thorough examinations. There was one case where everything
happened so quickly that took the nurse off guard and she was not
able to report what happened until the female patient left. It is
certainly not worth the risk to let a male doctor do intimate female
procedures or examinations. It would also be prudent to have a female
doctor perform your colonoscopy if you must have the procedure.
Some male gastroenterologists have taken advantage of women while
they were under anesthesia for colonoscopy. One female patient found
semen from the doctor on her face after she woke up from a colonoscopy
in a Texas hospital. Check
out a disciplinary action that was taken against another gastroenterologist
that has been accused of sexually assaulting some female patients
by Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing.
2.) Even with female gynecologists,
you have to take some precautions. It is very rare
for female ob/gyns to commit sexual misconduct, but it is possible.
Some female doctors are very coercive when it comes to doing things.
You need to speak up about things you don't want to be done to you.
For example, one female ob/gyn ignored a lady's wishes in writing
that she didn't want any medical students present for her C-Section.
It is wise to have someone who can help you advocate for what you
want. You should ask the female ob/gyn to tell you in details about
what exactly what she will be doing and if there is anything you
don't like, you should speak up. Find out who all will be present
for the procedure.
3.) Do not allow yourself to be
pressured into having a pelvic exam, pap smear, or breast exam at
any doctor appointments. Some female patients have gone to the doctor
for other health concerns and were pressured into having unnecessary
examinations. For instance if you go in for a sore throat and you
think you may have strep throat, don't spend time listening to a
lecture by the doctor about how important it is to have a pap smear
and that you need one today. If something like that happens, tell
the doctor you are not interested and you only want to talk about
the reason you came in (ex: your throat is sore).
4.) Don't undress or put on a
medical gown when it is unnecessary and/or you feel uncomfortable.
Most procedures and tests, including blood tests, blood pressure
tests, stethoscope heart exam, eye, ear, nose, and throat examinations,
as well as throat cultures can be done fully clothed. If your concern
is an infection or suspicious spot on your skin, only uncover that
part of your body and consider wearing a skirt, short sleeves, shorts,
and socks or knee highs, to uncover the area of concern while remaining
5.) Keep in mind that it is unnecessary
for you to take your shirt off for the doctor to listen to your
heart. You should wear a thin shirt and not a sweatshirt. It is
strange, but many doctors don't even ask men to take their shirts
off to listen to their hearts, but they ask women to. That tells
you something is wrong.
6.) You should think in advance
about what parts of your body the doctor should examine and dress
accordingly. For instance if you have a knee problem that you want
the doctor to check out, you should put shorts instead of pants
on so you would not have to take any of your clothes off in the
7.) Do not listen to recommendations from family
members or friends about male gynecologists who may be good. Many
people thought that the male gynecologists who have sexually abused
patients were wonderful doctors who would never do anything inappropriate.
Find yourself a female gynecologist to avoid the risk that you might
be abused by a male doctor. Some women prefer for female midwives
or Nurse Practitioners to do their women's wellness exams and that
is a good choice too.
8.) If you are going to be put under anesthesia,
you should insist that you have a family member or a friend present
for your procedure to protect you. Patients who are under anesthesia
are very vulnerable because they have no control over what happens.
Many patients are unnecessarily stripped naked for surgeries. One
female hand surgery patient had her gown and underwear removed after
she was put under anesthesia. The only reason she found out was
because she woke up in middle of the surgery. Check out Why
You Should Have a Personal Advocate For Surgery?
9.) Never assume that a well-respected doctor
will never do anything inappropriate. A well-respected doctor did
unnecessary breast exams on high school girls whose mothers were
not present for sports physicals.
10.) If you have cancer or possible cancer and
your gynecologist refers you to a gynecologic oncologist, make sure
that the referral is to a female gynecologic oncologist.
Do not buy the argument that a male gynecologic oncologist is exempt
since he is very skilled in helping with gynecologic cancers. A
gynecologic oncologist often performs intimate procedures on women.
Check out the article, Referral
to Gynecologic Oncologist.
11.) Never assume that your male doctor of many
years is not capable of abusing you because he has not abused you
in the past. One lady was abused by her doctor after seeing him
for many years.
12.) Make a firm decision that you will not let
a male doctor or nurse to touch any parts of your body that are
covered by a two piece bathing suit. This is a good way to prevent
you from being sexually abused by a male medical personnel.
13.) Insist that no male nurse give you a bath
or do intimate procedures on you such as urinary catheterizations.
urinary catheterizations are done. If you must be catheterized,
ask that a female nurse insert your catheter.
14.) Insist on a female technician for EKG, transvaginal
ultrasound (if needed), etc.
15.) If you must be hospitalized, it would be
best if you could have someone not employed by the hospital present
with you at least most of the time especially when you are asleep