Male Patients To Prevent Sexual Abuse In Medical Settings
Female patients are much more likely than male
patients to be sexually abused in medical settings, but that does
not mean that male patients are not at risk of being sexually abused
too. Men are less likely than women to report sexual abuse. Sexual
abuse in medical settings is more common than many people realize.
One health outcomes researcher did a survey with
a group of men and 10% of them reported inappropriate touching and
comments during a physical exam at some point in their lives. In
this survey, the most common groups to be exploited were (1) young
naïve teenagers, followed by (2) guys in their 20s getting
their first required physical for employment, followed by (3) men
getting their 3rd or 4th Digital Rectal Exam (DRE).
Important information about modesty concerns:
Many doctors use female nurses or assistants as chaperones during
exams that are unnecessary and cause embarrassment for male patients.
In some cases, a female assistant stays around to observe or take
notes while the male patient is undressed. Speak up and ask for
a private exam with the doctor without the female medical personnel.
If you look through medical boards and newspapers
in the United States, you will find some cases of sexual abuse by
doctors and nurses. 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. Some doctors that have committed sexual misconduct
have continued to practice. One
female ENT doctor abused a number of male patients under anesthesia
by doing non-consensual genital exams on them. There is absolutely
no reason for an ENT doctor to do genital exams on patients anyway.
1.) It is prudent for a male patient to
find a good male doctor for intimate male health issues. Try
to find a male doctor who is very sensitive to patient modesty and
protecting your privacy as much as possible. Consider interviewing
a doctor to see where he stands on patient modesty before allowing
him to do intimate examinations on you. It would also be prudent
to have a male doctor perform your colonoscopy if you must have
2.) Do not allow yourself to
be pressured into having a genital or rectal exam at any doctor
appointments. Some male 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 genital, prostate, or
rectal exam 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).
3.) Keep in mind that genital
exams are often unnecessary unless you have urological symptoms
or a genital injury. You have the right to refuse genital or rectal
exams at any time.
4.) Take along a trusted person
(preferably your wife) for doctor appointments that require genital
or rectal exams if possible - not only for protection from potential
sexual abuse, but to act as another set of eyes and ears to help
listen and remember everything you need to know regarding the reason
you actually are there. 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. If the doctor refuses to allow the person of your choice to
be present, walk away.
5.) If you are uncomfortable with
something that is happening during an exam or procedure, speak up
and stop the exam or procedure.
6.) 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, to uncover the area of concern while remaining clothed.
7.) 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
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
male hand surgery patient had his gown and underwear removed after
he was put under anesthesia. The only reason he found out was because
he woke up in middle of the surgery. Check out Why
You Should Have a Personal Advocate For Surgery?
9.) 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 or
drowsy. If you are married, it would be best that your wife assist
you with bathing. Many men are more comfortable with their wives
bathing them than a nurse. If a nurse or aide must assist you with
bathing, it would be prudent to ask for a male.
10.) Insist that no urinary catheter be inserted
unless it is absolutely necessary. Too many unnecessary
urinary catheterizations are done. If you must be catheterized,
it would be prudent to ask that a male nurse do it.
11.) Insist on a male ultrasound technician for
scrotal ultrasound if you are required to have one.