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,
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
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. 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. 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. You should think in advance about
what parts of your body the doctor should examine and dress accordingly.
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.
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.