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
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
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 the procedure.
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
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 doctor's office.
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.