Patient Modesty is a Serious Issue?
One young woman shared this with MPM about her
grandmother: "My grandmother went several years without
seeing an OB/GYN and she was having a lot of pain, swelling,
cramping. When she had put it off as long as she could and went
to the doctor because she could no longer stand it, she ended
up with a male physician. I knew my grandmother very well. She
was extremely modest about her body and that is the reason she
went so long without seeing a doctor. When she finally went,
she was so desperate for medical care, she took the male doctor
even though I am sure she wanted a female doctor and that day
found out she had stage 4 cervical cancer. It was inoperable
and a year later she died." This is truly a tragedy and
shows just how serious this issue is. Think about how many women
who could have had precancerous cervical cells burned off their
cervixes but have avoided going to the doctor because there
were no female doctors around or they could not be assured that
no men would be present for their procedure.
How many rape victims may have been exposed
to Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical
cancer? Many rape victims do not want to see a male doctor under
any circumstances. This is a serious issue because it is important
for those women to get regular pap smears and without the assurance
of a female ob/gyn, they may not make an effort to get them
done in a timely fashion.
Modesty problems are not isolated to only male
physicians. There can also be issues with female doctors, so
we need to educate them also on the importance of modesty for
certain patients. For example, one lady was very upset that
a female doctor’s examining room was in a cubicle with
a window with curtains and blinds that didn’t sufficiently
cover the opening. This posed a huge risk of someone accidentally
seeing certain parts of this woman’s body.
The scenario of the Emergency Room also poses unique issues.
Some women have gone to the ER with severe abdominal pain and
have had to walk out of the ER without getting treatment because
only male doctors were available. Hospitals, especially in bigger
cities usually have female doctors available, but there is a
very serious problem with some smaller town hospitals and clinics.
Some men have backed out of having a vasectomy
because they could not be guaranteed that no female assistants
or nurses would participate in the surgery. This is bad because
vasectomy is a safe, permanent birth control solution for couples
finished having children.
Some people have refused to have important surgeries
and they ended up with disabilities because they were concerned
that their wishes for patient modesty would be violated. This
is ridiculous, but some patients have their underwear taken
off unnecessarily for certain surgeries such as knee, wrist,
carpal tunnel, etc. Imagine how many people may suffer pain
that could be cured by surgery, but they did not feel they could
proceed with the surgery since they could not get any guarantees
that their wishes for patient modesty would be respected.