Sexual Misconduct By Doctors
   
       

Tips For Male Teenagers To Prevent Sexual Misconduct By Doctors

Girls are much more likely than boys to be sexually abused in medical settings, but that does not mean that boys are not at risk of being sexually abused too. Boys are less likely than girls to report sexual abuse. Sexual abuse in medical settings is more common than many people realize. Some examples of sexual abuse cases include: a pediatrician, Dr. Levine, a learning disabilities expert who was accused of sexually abusing 5 boys and a pediatrician and sports medicine specialist, Dr. Van De Loo who sexually abused some boys during sports physicals.

Important information about patient modesty concerns: Most adolescent boys are embarrassed to have genital exams. For most boys, a male physician is less embarrassing than a woman. There is an increase in female doctors and nurse practitioners doing genital exams on adolescent boys. Another problem is that male doctors often have female nurses as chaperones for male genital exams and that makes the embarrassment much worse.

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).

1.) It is prudent for you 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 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. There is no need for genital exams for sports physicals even though they are typically done. You really only need a genital / hernia exam if you have symptoms.

4.) Take along a parent (preferably your father) or another trusted person 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. The person does not have to be in direct sight of the area being examined if you are embarrassed. For example, if you had to have a genital check because of an injury or a problem, your parent (preferably dad) could stand behind you or simply turn his back. It is pretty easy to position yourself so that you are close but still giving them privacy if they want it. If your parent leaves the room they will often bring in a staff member to chaperone. That staff member will most of the time be a female. This will make your embarrassment even worse. 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 or frightened 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. There are so many procedures and tests that doctors can do on you without you having to change your clothes. For example, there's no need to change into a medical gown for a strep throat test.

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.

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.

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 or doctor do it.

 

 

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