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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Male Modesty Violations, A Special Case?

Topic by request. Is this sufficiently recognized by providers?
A summary of this topic can be found on the companion blog.
This thread is now full and cannot accept further posts. Please continue on Part 2
Information on how to protest violations is here.

206 comments:

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Joel Sherman said...

Does this topic merit special consideration? I think it probably does. Hard statistics are hard to come by but I believe at least a third of men are just as modest if not more so than women.
But men routinely have a harder time having their modesty respected partly due to unavoidable circumstances mainly that 90% of nursing personnel are women. Beyond that some people still believe that men either don't have any modesty or 'don't need' any modesty and tend to ridicule requests or complaints. This is not standard practice by any means, but it happens far more to men than women.
I grew up in an era where men were indeed not supposed to have much modesty, and if they did the army cured them of it. But times are different. Our Hollywood culture has exposed men to the same kind of bodily image insecurities that many women have always had.
I fully believe that men should be treated with the same respect as women and if special privacy needs are offered to women, they should be available to men as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. Sherman for all you
do. For your time and energy in
bringing this discussion to the
internet. Please understand that
many of us are angry. As a male I'm
angry in the many times that my privacy was not respected by female
nurses. The lack of respect that the AFEES showed me during my induction physical into the military.
Personally, for me I don't have any modesty issues. If someone has a problem with for what I have then they need to take it up with my maker. What's disturbing more than anything is the double standard. All men are created equal
and that was mean't to include women! Why are men not showed the same respect and concern. The notion that men are of a lesser group. I've seen it a million times.
The fourth amendment includes the right to privacy. Many female
health care workers don't appreciate this and probably could not recite the fourth amendment if their life depended on it. Additionally, 99.999% of these women have never had to carry a weapon and defend this nation in times of war. What would they know of individual freedoms!
LF

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks LF. A few more general thoughts:
This is a rather difficult topic because in many ways it's not considered completely respectable. I know I have difficulty asking the women physicians that I know about the topic because most of them wouldn't want to discuss it. Nurses have always been in the forefront of respecting patient's modesty, but some of them don't want to discuss male modesty. I didn't see the discussion on allnurses before it was deleted and don't know why they deleted it. But clearly large numbers of vocal modest male patients would be a threat to the nursing profession which is 90% women. I find it surprising for instance that most or many urology practices (I have no statistics) don't make accommodation for male patients who don't want to be exposed to women. They certainly don't make it a point to ask. Women patients in general are treated with much more respect.
For those new to this blog, I'd point out that the chaperone thread is mainly concerned with male modesty in that a significant proportion of women providers feel it is appropriate to bring in another woman to do nothing more than watch a male's intimate exam. The medical establishment in this country will not recognize this abuse as they are more concerned with protecting physicians, even though women physicians need almost no protection against charges of sexual assault or harassment.
As always the best way to combat this form of sexism is to complain immediately when you think your rights are being violated or that you're not being treated respectfully.

Joel Sherman said...

I have made preliminary efforts to get more information on this subject. It's very hard to find any real statistics. If you Google "male modesty" you get under 2000 hits, none of which are very relevant. If you Google "female modesty" you get 10 times as many hits. That's just a very crude estimate indicating that male modesty is hardly recognized compared to female modesty even though the number of very modest males must be at least half of females.
If anyone comes across a reference for this, please post it.

Anonymous said...

Modesty does not mean that a male is concerned about sexual assault.
It means the male is uncomfortable being exposed....and , yes, ridicule is used to get males to shut up..sometimes only by the response of the appointment maker..such as tone of voice you are let to know you are out of line for even asking for same sex care.
leemacaz

Anonymous said...

I believe that modesty has different meanings to many. That
said I would not rule out sexual
assault as I'm sure its one of many
fears that young boys may have.
Particularly if there is a history of abuse. To me, modesty
means that as a male I don't count
in the scheme of things. That somehow double standards are ok.
To me, those days of the titanic
are over. I'm just as important as
anyone else. That insurance card in
my walet is my entiltlement to the
same treatment that everyone else
gets. I should get the SAME treatment, the same respect for privacy that women get. I want the
SAME everything that they get. After all they want equality, then
SO DO I!
PT

MER said...

I was the one who started the Male Medical Modesty thread on allnurses. Their stated reason for deleating it was that they found out I was a writer and accused me of using their site for gain. From the beginning I had stated I was researching the topic so they knew who I was from the start.

The real reason they deleated it? First, I think that nurse instructors and administrators are especially sensative about this issue. They know that if more males demand same gender intimate care, under the law they'll have to grant it. That means they'll have to hire more male nurses. That means some female nurses may have to lose their jobs. All this may also mean affirmative action, quotas and incentives. Secondly, some nurses don't want "outsiders" to be part of this discussion. Of course, we patients are considered "outsiders." They especially don't like an "outsider" leading any discuss in this area, especially if the person is providing authoritative sources that help dispell the myth that males don't have any modesty.

I saved the entire thread and over the last few months have been reposting some of the ideas I expressed on it -- including the source I referenced -- on this and Dr. Bernstein's blog.

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks for clarifying what happened on allnurses. Hard to know exactly what their motivations were, but all you say may enter into it.
I once tried to post but they deleted it immediately because I listed this blog. That was illegal under their terms of service which I didn't read. But I did ask before hand if it was OK, but got no response.
Since then they have apparently loosened their rules for medical research, but I haven't tried again. The bottom line is that they are a commercial site first and a nursing site in all other respects. It's too bad they don't make it possible to poll nurses.

Prefers FM Care said...

As a male, I am probably the exception to the rule in that I prefer NOT to have same gender care when it comes to intimate care. I have a female urologist and even though being disrobed in front of anyone other than a spouse or significant other is always somewhat embarrassing, I feel much more comfortable with a female. It just seems more natural to me (gay people, please don't take offense, I just don't swing that way but everyone should be free to engage in acts with any gender they choose). I have had sexula problems in the last 3 years relating to erectile dysfunction and hate that there is a stigma attached to it. Men constantly make jokes about other men who need to use Viagra and the like and automatically classify them as "lesser men." because of this I certainly was uncomfortable discussing it with a male doctor, who although knowledgeable about the subject, may still have preconcieved notions about my manliness. My problem is caused by other drugs I must take. When I located a female urologist, she was very understanding and supportive and when out of her way to provide solutions for me. I did not feel like I was being judged. Now tomorrow (9-22-08) I have to have a testicular ultrasound to see if a lump I have is something to worry about. I will be naked from the waist down for about 20-30 minutes to an ultrasound tech. The lab I go to had only female techs in the past and I am hoping that is still the case as I will not be examined by a male tech. We'll see how it goes if they try to have a male tech take care of me and I state my preference for a female tech. Unfortunately, in the past when I have done this, I felt like the woman to whom I was speaking thought I was some kind of pervert. But sorry, I just don't want some guy handling my privates. And I don't need a chapperone in the room. I can take care of myself. I'm a cop.

Joel Sherman said...

FM care, you're certainly not a rarity though the exception on this blog. But at least 20% of men clearly prefer female physicians in general, though I don't know how the numbers break down for intimate care. Some do so because they find women more nurturing but others I suspect like you are homophobic. That doesn't mean that you hate homosexuals. You said it best, it means that you can't stand a man touching you. A few feel like this because of a history of sexual abuse. A significant proportion are medical fetishists which is why some will automatically consider you a pervert if you expressly want a female urologist. I assure you though that no male urologist would consider you less a man because of erectile dysfunction. That's a major part of their business.
You should look at this thread from an anonymous female urologist about preferences.

prefers FM care said...

Joel,

Thanks for your response. I know there is no other word for how I feel other than homophobe, but that has such a negative connotation. With me it goes way beyond thinking a male tech might be gay, I don't want straight guys handling me either. As a police officer, one thing you are taught in the academy is that you must maintain a superior position when dealing with others. At the very least, you must be on a level playing field, and escalate as warranted by the situation. Whether this offends people or not, cops that lose their top dog position in a given situation get killed. Typically, people who become cops have that predispostion to be dominant in their genes. I suppose I do too. I am uncomfortable when I am not in control of a situation. Now that doesn't mean I go beating everybody up on the street. Good judgement is just as if not more important. Anyway, to be naked and attended to by a male practicioner, makes me feel vulnerable to another man. Being that way in front of a female does not make me feel that way as I know I am the stronger sex (sexist, I know but that's just the way it is). I can equate how I feel in some way to being naked in front of my wife, with who I feel safe and comfortable with. And yes, generally I do feel women are more nurturing and are more likely to really listen to what your symptoms may be; not to paint with a wide brush in disparaging male docs. My cardiologist is male and is a great doc.

Some may think I need therapy, and maybe I do, but I know what I feel and that's the bottom line.

Oh, by the way, I had my testicular ultrasound today with a female tech. She was extremely professional and made me feel at ease. She guarded my privacy (as much as you can with that procedure) and the experience, while not something I would like to do all the time, was not bad at all.

Joel Sherman said...

Prefer FM,
I fully respect any patient's desires whether I think they are rational or not. When you say you can't stand to be touched by a man, I think that is irrational in a medical setting which is nonsexual and for your benefit, and has nothing to do with who's in command.
I prefer a male urologist, but would have no qualms about seeing a female if there was any special reason for it. The exam has no sexual connotations for me whatsoever. But as you said, it's what you feel that's important whether it's rational or not.
The most important thing is to get adequate medical care whether you get it from a man, woman, or gorilla is secondary.

Anonymous said...

Seems like there are a lot of testicular ultrasounds going around. I am scheduled for one on Wednesday but I have been assured that the tech is male. This is part of a physical, and I am getting other things checked too, like carotid. I have had this male tech before for the carotid artery, but he has never done the testicular, however I am not worrying in the least.

Like FM care, I am a police officer, now in my 31st year. I don't see being examined by another man as being in an inferior position. The relationship with my doctor is different than with dealing with the public in a law enforcement capacity. I don't confuse the two.

Having been abused by a nurse as an adolescent has instilled in me a fear of exposure to females in a medical environment. A lot has changed in me since then. I am older, wiser, and a heck of a lot bigger and aggressive. The prior experience probably won't happen again, unless I am made vulnerable by injury or anesthesia. But at least now I know what to do about it, something I didn't know as a 16 year old.

Even at that, I still have a huge distrust about female medical personnel. It's hard to get past the emotional trauma. The double standard we often speak of has further reinforced my desire to stay away from females when it comes to intimate care.

I my law enforcement career I have had lots of bad things happen to me. I've been in fights, riots, been burned several times, nearly drowned, been shot at more times than I can remember, and got accidentally shot by another officer. I've been cut, dog bit, cat bit, chased by an alligator, fell off a moving train, and had the engine fail on a police helicopter. Off duty, I was in a plane crash. Never had a bad car wreck though, knock on wood.

Despite all that I count my worst experience in life as having the abuse by the female nurse. It has far greater effect on my life than any other experience.

Mike

prefers FM care said...

Mike,

Your law enforcement career sounds more like an Indiana Jones movie. Good for you to come through all that though.

It amazes me that as human beings we can come through so many situations by the skin of our teeth and something you think would be easier to get through (I don't mean to downplay abuse) is what we hag onto.

I said in an earlier post that I have been suffering from erectile dysfunction for about 3 years due to other meds I take. You would think I would be able to deal with this and not worry about what others think, especially other males. However, the stigma that is attached to this causes me to suffer in silence when the jokes about guys not being able to get it up go around the station. There are always putdowns of the older guys by the younger guys that predispose them to be impotent because they are older. Truth be told, I am one of the younger guys at 36. But there's always putdowns like "you're too old to take care of business so I'll have to come over and satisfy your wife." I know it is only inocent busting, but when you feel like less of a man because you need to rely on a pill to get things working, it digs deep.

You constantly see the jokes on TV shows mocking guys with the problem. I'm probably wrong to think that a male urologist would judge me (even covertly) but I can't get past that. I never hear any women making jokes and that leads me to believe that a woman doc would be more understanding. Maybe not true, but it helps me to feel better.

Anyway, be careful out there.

Anonymous said...

I understand some of the man who prefers a female provider thoughts. It is a pretty popular theme to make fun of males sexuality or modesty in tv and movies, things that would be considered insensitive if we said them about females...however I think in general the joking we as males partake in is often different when we know the person, I really can't imagine teasing a friend who was having problems. Likewise I think you would be surprized at the compassion a male Dr. would have, just as many females prefer a female gyn because they "understand" becasue they have the "same equipment". I think a male provider would understand the emotional side of ED as much or more than a female. My brother had testicular cancer and had a testicle removed. I actually had a female PHD ask why he didn't have the other one removed to be safe.....are you kidding?.......I doubt to many males would have asked that...I would also his contention that the general consensous is alpha males are more likely to find police works attractive...not being modest is kind of part of the macho image...and please don't take that as an insult, I did not mean it that way...just as I understand that while homophopic may be the best way to describe your aversion to male providers does not mean you hate gays..it still comes down to personal preferences....alan

Anonymous said...

FM care,
Not much Indiana Jones here, just the way it is with big city policing and high crime beats. Just spent Tuesday on simunitions training as instructor, good thing too since I did the shooting, not getting shot.

I know what you mean about cops busting your chops with the ED thing. I don't have ED but due to infertility I don't have any kids. I got the occasional offers from fellow cops to come over and "take care of business."

Mike

Anonymous said...

FM care, I understand and feel for you. I did a lot of athletics in school, I thnk the general alpha male classification is pretty prevelant there as well. Ridicule is a popular pass time, no way I would show any concern that could be thought of as a weakness. Penis size, ED, etc would have wreaked a barrage from some of the guys on the team. As a result I know I and others accepted situations and scenerio's that we were not comfortable with just to avoid it. That said, in general I would guess you would find male Dr.s and the Alpha male on the opposite end of the compassion continuim. I think providers would not judge you as less of a man or a target as much as someone who has a problem and they can help...none the less it still boils down to what you or I are comfortable regardless of why or what others think...good luck and just a word of thanks for what you and other policemen do for our society...you are the perfect example of the difficult balance society expects us to walk between being masculine and sensitive, especially in your line of work..alan

Anonymous said...

I have no complaints about the testicular ultrasound today. Not only was the door closed but the curtain was drawn across as well. I was instructed to place pants and underwear at midthigh, so they weren't removed. I put the penis under my shirt, no need to expose that. Male tech, he even offered a drape sheet if I felt I needed it. It took maybe 10-12 minutes for that part of the test. The tech mostly looked at the monitor. It was really a non-event, the way men's health should be.

Mike

prefers FM care said...

Alan,

Thanks for your thoughts. Your comments about the alpha male are right on target. The ironic (and now shameful thing) is before I had a problem, I was one of the guys who did the busting. Now I guess the chickens have come home to roost. Not to sound like a whiner, but it seems as I've gotten older it's more difficult to understand what being a "guy" really is. In my teens and 20s everything was so cut and dried. Not so much anymore. But I guess life is one big learning experience, so I'm just gonna get the most out of it.

Mike,

I guess I'm pretty fortunate in that I got pulled off the street about 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with atrial fibrilation. I was put on meds to control my heart beat and that seems to be what caused the ED. I'm now running the arson/K-9 squad and I really love it. It's a new challenge every day.

The only positive regarding guys making jokes is that they have no idea I have a problem, so the jokes are not directed at me, but it still works on your self esteem.

Anyway, glad your exam went well. I'm still waiting for my results and hopefully they come back today. I hope your results come back OK.

Chris

Anonymous said...

I had to go back for another ultrasound today. I missed the doctors call saying my bloodwork revealed elevated liver enzymes and he wanted ultrasounds of the liver, pancreas, gall bladder, and kidneys. I could have done it all at once but having missed the call I had to go again so it was another office visit, time off from work, and another co-pay. I got the female tech this time, no problem since I didn't have to show much.

It's interesting to contrast how the two presented themselves. The male was dressed in business casual and wore a lab coat with his name and credentials embroidered on. He introduced himself, even though he has seen me in the past. In his cubby hole of an office, he had his certificates and degrees framed. He had 2 bachelors degrees, one in nuclear medicine, the other in biology. You could tell he was proud of his profession.

The female on the other hand, just called my name out and told me to come in and get undressed from the waist up. She didn't introduce herself and had no name tag on. No degrees were framed on the wall and she was dressed in blue jeans and a scrub top. It was dress down Friday and when I saw her Wednesday she had scrub top and bottoms. She stood there and watched me undress. I was on my way to work afterwards so I had on my flight suit which is my normal work uniform. I guess she has never seen a cop in a flight suit and a shoulder holster. I got the shoulder holster off and put it on the chair, then unzipped my flight suit and wiggled it down to my waist and used the arms as a waist tie. I then took off the undershirt. She was a cutie, I'll give her that, I liked looking at her. I kept thinking that there was no way I would ever allow her to do a testicular ultrasound, no matter how cute. She just didn't have the professional air about her at all. Quite a contrast to the male tech. I asked about her training and she said she had a 2 year degree as a sonography tech. I only hope the male tech gets paid a lot more for all his degrees and training.

The male tech told me on Wednesday that she was hired to do some of the more intimate stuff on the female patients, like transvaginal ultrasounds, something the male tech said he used to do (with a chaperone), but that liability concerns made it uncomfortable for him and the practice. He said he does most of the testiculars but she does do some of them. I doubt she uses a chaperone.

It was an interesting contrast that I thought I would pass along.

Chris,

Good luck with your test results.

Arson/K9 are an unusual combination, but, whatever works. My former agency had K9, marine unit, and Aviation all together under special ops. In my present second career, I just do aviation with some firearms instructing on the side. I have a marked unit, so I get in some traffic work too, relieves stress, if you know what I mean.

Mike

prefers FM care said...

It's been my experience that when it comes to med techs, the level of training varies greatly. She is probably going to be an ultrasound tech for the rest of her life, whereas the guys sounds like he has bigger and better things in mind (not to disparage med techs).

The double standard always gets me in that male techs doing women are pretty much guilty of "abuse" before he even starts and needs a chaperone, but female techs are "above reproach" when dealing with male patients. I certainly don't need a chaperone but the inequality gets to me.

Mike, in our business where we wear uniforms and should always exhibit a professional image, the fact that the female tech was "dressed down" doesn't cut it with me. If you're in an office with no contact with the public, dress down is fine. When you're dealing with patients, sorry, unacceptable. A tech needs to project a certain image, just as a doc or nurse to reassure the patient that they are competent.

Hope your tests all come back OK.

In the arson squad we have 3 accelerant detection K-9s. That's why they are in the unit. Our patrol, bomb and narcotics K-9s are in another unit.

Chris

Joel Sherman said...

Chris, as you already said, the issue of a double standard is too big for this blog.
I think your observation is true that men are often more ambitious in their jobs than women but certainly it's arguable.
But women don't get a free pass anymore. Society once thought of women as nonsexual nurturers. Clearly not true. Although there are many more male predators, you read more and more about women offenders. Society is just beginning to catch up on that standard. There have always been female abusers, but the law has not recognized them until recently.

Anonymous said...

There is a thread on ultimatenurse.com under gereral
discussion " do female nurses and
female techs discuss male patient
private parts." The thread includes a survey. Note the comments made by a moderator called
courgar nurse!

pt

Joel Sherman said...

MER said on Bernstein:
initially only male orderlies did this procedure on males. But the problem was that, as time went on, many males had to wait in pain because there were not enough males to accommodate them. So they taught female nurses to do the procedure to help.

Don't know where you got the reference MER. But I think the change to nurses doing catheterizations was more related to 1.) the financial squeeze hospitals were put in. They eliminated all kinds of ancillary positions and consolidated responsibilities. Orderlies are now used almost solely for transport And 2.) The push for gender equality and greater responsibilities and prestige for nurses. I doubt male patients who need caths are handled any faster than they ever were.
What they haven't done is push for more male nurses.

Anonymous said...

I worked in a hospital as an orderly back in 1975. I was trained on catheters but never performed any. The push was to get away from catheterizations from orderlies due to concern for nosocomial infections. It was argued that nurses better understood sterile procedure. I don't see any difference in cath procedures today from what I was taught back then. It's all the same. At my hospital the switch to nurse performed caths was in place by 1983, I knew that because by then I was dating a nurse who worked there.

BTW, when you see online education about cath procedures now, you never see any suggestion to cover the clinician's mouth with a mask. I think that is a good source of nosocomial infection because if the nurse speaks to the patient during the procedure, which is often the case, the nurse expectorates down over the sterile field. That always irked me, even as an orderly way back then, but what did an orderly know?


Mike

Joel Sherman said...

Mike, I have never heard that nurses have a lower infection rate than orderlies for urinary catheterization. I googled the subject and found nothing. So I'm doubtful.
It's certainly not hard to teach sterile technique, especially for one specific procedure. I always thought that urinary infections had the strongest correlation with the length of time Foleys were left in, not who put them in.

Anonymous said...

That was the excuse they gave us (and the nurses) for having the nurses do the caths. I only worked at the hospital for about a year, until I determined that I was not welcome in the nursing field because of my sex, then I went into law enforcement. I did see a reference on allnurses where a female nurse observed that in times past nurses did not do the male caths, the orderlies did. The shift toward nurses doing the caths seemed to take place around 1980 or so. I have my doubts that sterile procedure was the real reason for it.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Here is an article I saw on AOL today that I think is of interest.

http://www.aolhealth.com/medical-myths/is-being-male-hazardous-to-your-health-intelihealth-version

The article asks why do men lead in illness and lag in health. It cites a list of a complex mix of biological, social, and behavioral factors. My thoughts are that the article leaves out one of the most important factors in why men decline or delay healthcare. That factor, as we have all discussed, is that men are generally treated with much less respect for their modesty and dignity by the healthcare community than women are.

Many of the issues we have discussed on this blog are: military induction physicals, school group physicals, chaperone gender, staffing gender issues, and generally just the way male modesty issues have been handled by the medical community. An incredible number of men have been faced with these issues. The end result is the same: the modesty of men just isn't given the same priority as that of women. The outcome of that is that men have a very reduced level of trust and confidence in the medical community than women do. Men are forced to make a dangerous association: medical care equates to being humiliated.

I too have read of the theories that the medical community presents as to the reason why men hold back when it come to their health, but none mentions the real reason. This article is just another example. I suppose that medical people just don't want to face the fact that they are harming their patients. With the concept of "first, do no harm" in mind, they want to believe that they are doing their best for the male patient. But it seems that few can dispute that there is a definite double standard when it comes to the way male vs female modesty is handled.

Notice that the article cites that 60 percent of men older than 50 have not been screened for colon cancer in the past year and that 41 percent of men older than 50 have not been screened for prostate cancer within the past year. Yet it makes no mention that the ancillary staff at endoscopy centers and urological clinics are predominately female, thus forcing men to accept exposure to females in these facilities. What would happen if women faced an all male ancillary staff at OB/GYN clinics? We know the answer to that.

We know that diseases that can reduce our lifespan involve parts of the body that are considered intimate; breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, and so on. Yet women have the confidence to turn to the healthcare community for preventive measures and survive in larger numbers than men. Men don't have that confidence as a result of earlier life experiences and thus hold back and die of that choice.

It's easy to blame the patient, but how many medical personnel can face themselves in the mirror and ask "are we the problem?" That takes courage and the realization that it's time for a change.

Mike

Joel Sherman said...

I agree with you Mike. Modesty and embarrassment is clearly a factor in men avoiding health care. I have no idea what percentage of men avoid care because of it, could be 5% or much more. It's just not a subject that is well studied, and many men wouldn't admit to it. I don't think a gender choice would obviate the embarrassment for some men who don't ever want to be dependent on others, but it would certainly help if they were given a bigger choice in the planning of their care.
Of course women have the same problem, but they are given more choices. All we can do here is keep the discussion going.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. You all assume too much. Women do not get as much choice as you may think. Male GYNs enter w/male nurses to supervise exams. Males force women into exams. Women are lied to and manipulated into large numbers of students performing practice exams. And women under anesthesia have all gender requests violated and suffer as many as 12 or more residents and students performing practice breast, rectal, and pelvic exams. My request for women docs to perform mastectomy and GYN surgery were violated. AS soon as I was under anesthesia teams of male residents came in to perform surgery. Not only is a matter of modesty for women but protection as decades of repeated research indicates that more than 30% of the male population would rape if they knew for sure they could get away with it; yet women are left alone with males while under anesthesia. I have even heard of janitors cleaning round naked women in O.R. So, you see, men are lucky in that few women rape. Not that I think you should not have your privacy; I do!!!

Joel Sherman said...

You'll find plenty of documentation of violations against women elsewhere on this blog, particularly the personal violations thread. Women's views are more than welcome. Pelvics done as practice under anesthesia without informed consent have certainly been discussed. I haven't denied that violations against women are a problem. The point of this thread on male modesty is only that men have a harder time complaining about violations and having their requests taken seriously.
Not sure where you got the statistic that 30% of men would rape if they could. Do you have a reference?
In a hospital setting both men and women can be seen exposed on occasion by non medical help. I'm sure it happens much more to men as more attention is usually given to women's privacy and most hospital employees are women.

Anonymous said...

I think I have seen those numbers from this or another poster before without substantiation. Likewise as the saying Numbers don't lie, but .... come to mind, I read a article where an incredibly high number of women had been abused by their husbands, on doing a little deeper research I learned the definition of abuse included...raising ones voice, using facial expressions of anger, disquest, or could be percieved as meanancing, using negative or derogatory words toward the person, heck if thats the case my wife and kids abuse me daily. Don't doubt that women have been mistreated at all, I don't think I have heard anyone say that, however many people agree the issue of modesty for men does not get the same concern or consideration as women, and the gender disparity in medical providers complicates that issue as well.

There is an interesting qoute on an ongoing thread on the voy blog. While some of the voy site is fetish and fantasy, every once and a awhile there is something of value. There was a qoute from a sociology book wherein the author speaking in general states where a person or segment benefits from the double standard, it becomes almost invisiable or unnoticed by the person recieving the benefit where as the person being victimized by the double standard has a much more vivid awareness of the violation. I think if one thinks about this it has atleast some validity to this issue. It could explain why a provider who would not accept an opposite gender provider would see nothing wrong with them providing care to an opposite gender patient and why they might on occassion seem unconcerned about the modesty of the opposite gender's modesty. When they are in the role of provider the double standard benefits them and is minimalized or invisible since they are not negatively impacted, however when they are the patient they have switched roles and become the victim and the issue becomes more vivid, apparent, and impactful. What we see as hypocracy may actually be this theory in action or perhaps a combination of this and hypocracy...who knows. Given the majority of care givers are female, it would be understandable that the double standard benefiting females and providers becomes more pronounced. This would apply to more than this segment, but not sure where to put it....any thoughts?

Joel Sherman said...

Yes I'm also skeptical of statistics such as 30% of men would rape if they could get away with it. I've never heard that claim. But a feminist mantra is that 1 out of 4 women have been raped. But when looked into (by Christina Hoff Sommers and others) it turns out that this was a self selecting survey of a feminist magazine which the 'researchers' interpreted as rape even though many of the responders themselves didn't think it was. They classified as rape every incident where a woman regretted a consensual incident, many of which occurred under the influence of alcohol. As I recall, penetration wasn't a requirement either. Very few of the 'rapes' were criminal and almost no charges were brought. Of course it made no difference if the guy also regretted it.
I believe the theory about a double standard just being accepted as proper by those whom it favors. Many parallels could be cited such as ages old discrimination against women which not many people criticized until the last century.

Anonymous said...

If nurses don't know any better to
wash their hands what makes you
think they are going to respect
your privacy? Hospitals are no longer being compensated for hospital acquired infections.
I'm hoping privacy violations are next on the list but I won't hold my breath.
LM

Joel Sherman said...

Well there's not much correlation between washing hands and a concern for privacy. It's not always as easy as you might think to wash your hands by the way. Sinks aren't always convenient. Hospitals in my area leave antiseptic dispensers outside patients' door to facilitate infection control.
But don't hold your breath waiting for privacy concerns to improve.

MER said...

Joel wrote:

MER said on Bernstein:
initially only male orderlies did this procedure on males. But the problem was that, as time went on, many males had to wait in pain because there were not enough males to accommodate them. So they taught female nurses to do the procedure to help.

Don't know where you got the reference MER.

Joel -- I got the reference from:

Doherty W (2006) Male urinary catheterisation. Nursing Standard. 20, 35, 57-63.
Date of acceptance: March 16 2006.

This is a British publication and you should be able to find the article online. It's worth reading. It states clearly, as a standard, that males should be offered a male nurse for this procedure. It discusses other psychological and sociological aspects of this procedure.

As a side note -- why don't we see American publications like this in the medical profession? I'd really appreciate it, Joel, if you'd read it and give us your reaction. And if you know any nursing instructors, let him or her read it and react. The topics covered in this article, it seems to me, are left out of much training in this country.

I note on this thread that people have given anecdotal evidence that these changes (primarily females doing this procedure on men) started in the 1980's. On these blogs, I've written my ideas about these changes as I see them. The reasons for these changes may be complicated and include finance, efficience, the idea that gender doesn't matter, the empowerment of nursing as a profession, etc. But it seems to me that attitude changes like this either come out of the business realm and/or the teaching realm.

Anonymous said...

RECENTLY posted on Voy.com.
Worth discussing here.

"I went to see a new doctor the other day because when I was getting dressed I accidentally zipped part of my scrotum into the zipper. Once I was able to get it unzipped it was bleeding so my wife took me to the ER and we checked in. I requested a male doctor and called it an "embarrassing injury on my privates." The most important thing for me was that he was a male doctor. I have always gone to male doctors because it is always difficult for me to undress in front of any female but my wife. If I had to wait longer for the male doctor it was worth it. Luckily the ER wasn't very busy that night.

After waiting a while a nurse finally called me in and took me to a small exam room where she told me to wait. After a while a different female nurse came in and told me to show her the injury. I asked her if there's an available male doctor and she said there will be but she had to check out my injury before he came in. I don't know if that was standard procedure or she had to see it to determine the severity or what. I told her it was an embarrassing male thing and if I had to wait all night I would. She said if I wouldn't co-operate then she needed the room for someone else and I could return to the waiting room. My wife was with me and when I looked at her she shrugged, so I told the nurse exactly what happened. She said "fine, but I still have to see it". When I still refused to disrobe in front of her and told her I just wanted to see the doctor she actually kicked us out of the exam room and sent us back to wait in the waiting room. We left and went home.

Happily it turned out to be nothing and two days later I couldn't even see the mark anymore. Was this an unusual case or does it happen a lot? I wonder if she really had the authority to do what she did or if she was in a bad mood. The only time I had been in the ER before that (and since) was to get stitches in my forehead, which was quite obviously the problem they could see upon my entering the ER.

Do they really care so little that they would refuse to see me without my giving the nurse a peep show? I think it was pretty clear because I had requested a male doctor for an "embarrassing injury on my privates" and waited longer for that reason. Did they really think that although I asked for a male doctor (which she said wouldn't be a problem)that I would be OK with a female nurse checking my embarrassing injury first? Why would they do that?"

Bill

Anonymous said...

There is no reason for the nurse to
examine you.PERIOD!!! Additionally, you should report it!

Joel Sherman said...

Bill, I think the story is kind of unusual. It is certainly surprising that the nurse would evict a patient from a room causing the patient to leave altogether. If the injury had proved serious and there had been consequences, I think the hospital could potentially have been liable. Medically I can see no reason for an ER protocol that insisted that a nurse see the injury prior to the doctor. A description and history of the injury should have been adequate prior to a physician entering. But if you have to go to the ER with an embarrassing injury, prepare to be embarrassed. Lots worse incidents than this occur. Needing to have a foreign object extracted from the rectum is a common one. If more than a quick look see is necessary, chances are great that several people will be needed.

MER, I'll try to find that reference. Was it a journal?

Joel Sherman said...

MER, here's the most pertinent quote from your article:

Male catheterization was historically carried out on patients by male nurses or doctors. It was believed to be inappropriate for female nurses to catheterize male patients. This practice reduced the number of practitioners with the skill to perform this procedure to an unacceptable level. Patients were required to wait and were often in considerable pain and discomfort.

If this statement is valid, I think it only applies to the British experience. As far as I know in this country male catheterizations were done by orderlies and there was no lack of them. If they couldn't accomplish it, a urologist or urologic resident was often called. (I've never done a catheterization.) I don't think delays are a pertinent variable in this country. When I needed to be catheterized post op, the nurse was probably the only one on the evening shift and couldn't come very fast. In the old system, orderlies were likely more available. The other comment in that article that patient gender preferences should be asked and honored almost certainly is rare in this country. The nurse certainly never asked me, and if they ask anyone, it would likely have been asked of me as a staff physician.

fh said...

I live in the UK. The article you refer to is intended to be best practice. Female nurses NEVER ask a man for gender preference when inserting a catheter. They simply pretend it is not an issue.

Most men go along with it out of what might be described as "paralysis in pyjamas". The suffer in silence and resent it immediately afterwards.

If any provider is sincere or genuine about caring about dignity issues, they would indeed ASK, not pretend that nobody minds, the nurses may not mind, the men usually do!

Joel Sherman said...

The old familiar story, fh. I really didn't think it was likely that UK practices were that much better than ours in the US.

Anonymous said...

The double standard infuriates me. Most people would probably consider me stupid for this but I don't give silent consent when I need an intimate exam or procedure done. I'm always very polite to begin with but I make it clear that a female doing or watching certain procedures just will not happen to me, even if it means further suffering or making an ass out of myself in public. When I need an intimate exam or procedure done I usually give a female doctor, nurse or assistant the benefit of the doubt and assume I'll have a male doctor do that part of the exam and will have the privacy I need. I don't want to begin every exam by demanding the exile of all female personnel, that usually leads to being considered a difficult patient and I don't want to start an exam with anyone feeling uncomfortable around me. But if the time comes when I may need to drop the boxers or whatever I'll politely let a female doctor know I would like to skip that part if I don't believe it's necessary at that time. If I thought something was necessary I would have made sure I was getting a male doctor at the beginning. With a male doctor I would politely dismiss a female nurse or assistant temporarily or make sure a curtain is closed.

To be honest, I've rarely had any problems. Quite often a female nurse, tech or assistant will try to begin an exam or procedure of that kind and when I realize what's going to happen I politely tell her or them that I would feel more comfortable with a male. Normally they don't make much of it and go and find a guy. A few have had attitudes but I always stick to my guns and so far have always ended up with a guy.

My advise is to stand up for yourself and don't be talked into giving in to their demands. You don't need to act that way to begin with because quite often it just somehow works itself out without any problems. But if you're eventually put into that position, don't let them talk or force you into doing what you're not comfortable doing. Like I've read many times; YOU are the boss.

DG

Joel Sherman said...

DG, your approach is certainly reasonable. Thanks for sharing.
You seem to have had better experiences than most of the commenters I've seen.

Anonymous said...

Here is a perfect example of what
I call classic Double Standard!
Allnurses.com general discussion,
Female teenager questions about
an appendectomy and her concerns
and the responses SHE got from
female nurses. Do you think male
patients would get the same advice.
NOT!

Anonymous said...

DG,
I agree with Dr Sherman that your experiences are better than the norm. I also agree that a polite but firm approach generally gets good results, but I am always prepared in case someone wants to argue. It's been my experience that if a male doctor begins an exam with an assistant present, then it is his intention that she remain present for the whole exam. That's why I won't allow the exam to even start with the assistant present, it's harder to stop things once they get going. I just tell the doc right from the start that the assistant has to leave or I will, even if it means pushing the docs hands away to get his attention. But, it has been many years since I have had to do that. I have been going to a great doc for the past 5 years and he is on the same page as me when it come to modesty.

Mike

fh said...

Believe it or not, the all nurses link has already been removed.

They must be so insecure if they cant tolerate even the slightest debate on such issues.

All the more reason for men to push for their rights.

Anonymous said...

DG

I agree with the approach that you've taken. Like you, I've found that as long as your polite and upfront in the beginning, you can usually come to a compromise that benefits everyone. And, if your not happy with the situation, it's just as easy to walk out as it was to walk in. Once you start walking, they may have a change of attitude as well (as I experienced). It's just a shame that one must go to these lengths just to preserve their dignity. In the end, that's what it's going to take to force change. Jimmy

Anonymous said...

There should be no comprimise, these are your rights as a patient!
I should NEVER have to ask! That
little piece of paper in my wallet is my entitlement to the same care as women get. RESPECT FOR MY PRIVACY!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mike and Jimmy for your encouraging comments. You too Dr. Sherman. I love this site!

Mike, I think you're right about letting the Doc know what I expect at the beginning of the exam. That would probably save some time and not cause as many unnecessary problems later in the exam.

Believe me, "Anonymous from Nov 30", that's how I sometimes feel too.
Thanks for reading my posts guys. Thanks for the great blog Dr. Sherman.

DG

Anonymous said...

Has anybody heard of a hospital or clinic where a male can have surgery on or near somewhere that would be considered "intimate" and be guarenteed an "all male" surgical team and nursing staff? I've heard many times of places where a female patient can have this happen. One place I remember had "Women's Tuesday" (or something like that) where on every other Tuesday a clinic had an "all women" staff and any female patient could set up a surgery to happen on that day without being worried about ever seeing so much as a male janitor. Is there any place on the planet where men can have that same luxery?

Joel Sherman said...

Never heard of any place that advertised it except perhaps for one Canadian hospital that encouraged gender requests and didn't specify women only.
But if you read these blogs you will find that if you specifically request it, some places will accommodate you, though many will not guarantee it. If that's what you want though, you have to clear it with your physician ahead of time.

Joel Sherman said...

Here's a blog entry from an older guy who describes some of his experiences with medical care and his modesty concerns with it. He's not very embarrassed, maybe less so than most people, but it's still interesting.
I'm sure many women could tell similar stories.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sherman, the entire subtext
of Mr. Harris' experiences is the
discomfort and humiliation that
he is trying to take lightly --
"taking it like a man". The medical atmosphere he's in is totally insensitive to what he might be feeling so he is forced to joke about it. I've been there. Of course, the basic issue of this blog section has alway been -- would a woman be treated the same and with an opposite or mixed gender
team in these situations. If it's
the same for both genders then we
all have no real right to complain.
My experiences tell me it is not.
That's why we're posting here.

Joel Sherman said...

Mixed gender teams are pretty common in hospital settings, not so much in offices. But I agree that it would be very rare that a woman would have a bunch of men taking care of her for an intimate procedure. You'll note from the article that the author just thinks that's the way it is, but of course he chose a woman physician to begin with so you wouldn’t think he had a high level of concern. I was more surprised that he had substantial modesty issues about the procedures after choosing to see ladies. There are enough male dermatologists.

Anonymous said...

Harris' blog entry gives us an
opportunity to look behind the
words of his medical banter exchanges and mirror some of what we all feel in these very awkward situations.

"I was lying on a gurney in a staging area when a cute young nurse came in."

(READ: a sexually superior female who is about to put a male into a submission position that is both unnatural and uncomfortable for most men, especially older men, who are feeling the inferiority and unattractiveness of their age.Obviously, this young women wouldn't give him the time of day if he said "hello" to her in a bar).

"Carrying a toolkit that looks like her job was blood collecting. I said, 'You here to collect blood?' And she said, 'No,' and pulled out a little washcloth size towel, and looked aside while throwing back my covers..."

(READ: Letting him know she is grossed out and potentially insulted. It's certainly not her modesty she's protecting.)

"...(she)slapped the towel over my genitals, grabbed on good, and then whipped out a plastic disposable razor with her other hand and quickly began shaving me."

(RECAP: She throws back the covers,
embarassing the man (establishing
dominance) while averting
her eyes (registering her rejection
of him as a sexual being). In a
moment he is both stripped and
rejected. Then an inadequate covering is tossed in place so that after his modesty has been violated there is now a game at
hand, not so much to protect him as to shield both her virtue and disgust, which she then freely acknowledges when he brings up the
subject.

"'Wow! You have quite a method for protecting my modesty,' I said." (Recognize the nervous response, guys?)

(READ: She could have asked him to position the wash cloth underneath the covers before she suddenly removed them.)

" 'I don’t want to see anything and I know you don’t want to show anything,' she said, while dry-scrapping the hair off my thigh and across the top of my crotch."

(READ: spare me any possible sexual overtones, you old letch)

“'I am a little modest,' I admitted, 'but I mostly don’t want to gross young people out with naked oldness.'"

(READ: More nervous banter from him -- the type of words that seem to come easily when you've just been been royally embarassed by surprise. You tend to apologize
when you should be furious.)

"'Thank you,' she said with an appreciative smile. 'And oh my god,' she suddenly remembered, 'I know what you’re talking! The first woman I had to work with was old and wrinkly, and before I had a chance to glance away she just let it all hang out for me to see. I sure wished she hadn’t shown me that future.'

(READ: I'm glad we both understand our position here. You're the gross old man and I'm the hot, young, object of desire who doesn't like be revolted by your possible
sexual interest during my job.)

In all, a medical episode that
would have happened to me a
couple of years back before I
started reading blogs like this.
Now, I can safely say, never again.
I refuse to go home from medical
procedures unnecessarily humilated.
I ask nurses and techs to explain
everything first, then I tell them
how I feel most comfortable. If
necessary, I get in their face
about it. If really necessary,
I leave. - JASON

Anonymous said...

Every procedure should be explained
and in essence permisson is requested. For someone to simply
walk up to you as a patient and begin any procedure is battery and
just plain ignorant! I always ask
for a male nurse on any intimate
procedure. It's my way of being
in charge. It's my way of disempowering female nurses who have this sense of power and dominion lacking any moral compass that comprises decency and respect!
Unfortunately, you have to ask
for respect for your privacy. As redundant as it sounds it is true. Otherwise they will walk all over you. Don't expect the same respect for privcy that say a female patient would get. Discrimination
abounds for male patients!

Anonymous said...

You all assume way too much about the care women get. We are not afforded the privacy and respect you think we are given. In fact, we are research seems to indicate women are more abused in terms of privacy, not less, and we are more likely to suffer sexual assault from a medical provider, including while under anesthesia. So, while it is not just a matter of dignity and modesty, but self protection for us, we are still violated, and male nurses, physicians, orderlies, residents, students, even janitors have the ultimate advantage.

Anonymous said...

there was quite a stir when Dr Bernstein suggested we seperate the sexual side of this out. Studies can lead you any where you want them to if you conduct them as such. I believe it was NOW who published a study that indicated 60%+ of women had been abused by their husbands. When one dug into it, the fine print indicated they defined abuse as including things like looking menancing, raising ones voice, saying things that intimidated or were demeaning...heck with those parameters I would be surprised if the number wasn't 90%+...men and women.
Do you honestly..and I am asking this in earnest, think that most women, in most medical situations fear they are going to be molested by medical providers or the janitor while seeking medical care. Does it happen, sure it does, but so do plane crashes, males are raped, lightening strikes and kills people....it can happen...but I have a really hard time believing that the frequency is such that it is a major concern to a majority of women, especially when going in for normal medical procedures and visits.
We can never fully understand each others sides, we really can't walk a mile in each other shoes. I can speak from experience of the following:
1. males are assumed to have less modesty and therefore less need for accomodation in society. This carries into the medical community, and is evidence in things such as female prision guards are given much more leeway with male prisioners than male guards are with female prisioners they can pat search and strip search where males are often restricted from one or both. The courts have ruled two female guards were not guilty of sexual harassment when the forced a male to submit to a strip search and then pointed and laughed at his naked state, the court ruled since they didn't touch him...it wasn't a problem, they have ruled that labor and delivery departments can discriminate in hiring against males as it might make female patients uncomfortable...none of this would have happen the other way around. Female reporters in male locker rooms while males are showering..thats Ok, but reporters have to leave to allow female atheletes privacy to shower. A male teacher has an affair with an underage female student off to jail, female teacher underage male...probation...there are tons of examples of how society handles this and it carries in the medical arena.
Now couple that with the fact that 90% of nurses and 50% of doctors are female..the odds of females choosing a female Dr and having female staff is pretty good, even if a male chooses a male Dr the odds are they will have a female staff. We have tons of Womens health clinics, I have seen womens days advertised at places that do colonoscopies where women are assured women only staff...you don't see that for women. If a woman asks for an all female staff no questions asked they will try to accomodate, but a male asking for the same is seen as difficult or ridiculous. I personally watched the same female tech who did an scrotal ultrasound on me, tell my wife she was going on break and the only tech available was male so if she would feel more comfortable waiting for a female she would be back in about 10 minutes.
Now I am in no way saying women do not experience some of the same, nor would I argue women still face discrimination and the double standard in many areas, I raised two daughters and it was an eye opener....but I would lay money there is a much higher level of concern and accomodation for women than men....another quick example. locally they they had a free Breast cancer check for women and advertised "our all female staff" ...yet when they did the " free prostate cancer check" you got it female NP and two female nurses....and to add insult to injury the news station I watch, the female news person was laughing and snickering while the male anchor was giving times an details on where to get the prostrate exam, he looked at her and said...thats not funny, she just smirked, if that would have been the male laughing at the female breast exam he would have been out of there, nothing from her not even an apology or acknowledgement it was wrong.

Joel Sherman said...

The presence of this topic, male modesty, by no means implies that there are more modesty violations against men than women. It may or may not be true, but this topic is present by request because indeed male modesty is poorly recognized by the medical profession and needs special attention. An underlying assumption is that women 'need' their modesty and men don't. Women are usually accommodated and men aren't.
Most people recognize that both sexes have substantial issues with modesty and privacy but it is frequently ignored for men for a variety of reasons.

Anonymous said...

This is regards to anonymous Dec.
31,2008 at 3:31 Pm

"I believe it was NOW who published a study indicating that
60% of women had been abused by
their husbands."

One in 6 adults are reported to
have been molested as a child and
in a surprise study 40% of those
doing the molesting were female.

Kaiser Permaneate research gender
and sex abuse.

I'm not sure where NOW gets their
data anD I really don't care as I'm
sure its skewed,unsubstantiated
and done unscientifically.

PT

Joel Sherman said...

Here's a brief blog item, claiming that at nude protests sponsored by PETA women are far more likely to volunteer than men. It raises the question are men more modest or perhaps are men are more afraid of being arrested?
I don't know the answer and can't confirm the main contention, but it certainly gives further evidence that men have at least as much modesty as women if not more. Certainly on beaches, women routinely wear skimpy thongs that would have gotten their grandmothers arrested while the guys wear ridiculous bathing trunks (IMO) often down to mid calf. I can't imagine swimming in such a get up.

MER said...

Joel:

Excellent item about the PETA protests. These are the kinds of indicators we need to start delving into the sociological aspects of gender that relate to our topic. This is one item. But as we get more items like this they may begin to indicate patterns.

Did you notice a comment on the blog entry that proposed a theory that, with the rise of the gay movement in this country, straight men are much more reserved about their bonding rituals with other men? A fascinating observation.

Frankly, I'm beginning to believe that homophobia plays a more important role than we may realize in how men relate to male vs. female nurses. I base this on some interviews I've done with men. More than I had anticipated, though embarrassed with a female nurse, were more reluctant to let a man touch them intimately.

Joel Sherman said...

MER, I agree about your comments on homophobia. When I was a kid, we knew nothing about homosexuality except as a theoretical subject. When we took nude showers and swimming in high school, we never (or at least I) never gave a thought to the possibility that the guy next to me could be gay or interested in looking at me. But it's different nowadays. Kids are warned by their parents not to expose themselves because of the fear of perverts, and it's apparently common that kids consider nude showering together to be a gay thing. At the Y locker room, there is an obvious generational difference in that most of us older guys are comfortable walking around nude, but many younger guys keep towels around themselves. I'm not sure that is a healthy change.
I have no idea what percentage of men would prefer a female nurse over a male nurse for intimate care, but it is significant. The common perception that many male nurses are gay doesn't help that. Some people have trouble accepting that a medical encounter is not sexual.

David said...

I believe all patients modesty should be respected as far as possible and requests for same sex medical providers respected and accepted...
I think women face another hurdle (apart from modesty)- the long history of male doctors and others taking advantage and sexually assaulting female patients. I've never heard of a female doctor or nurse assaulting a male or female patient.
I read recently that one in 4 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in life - that's bad, very bad...
I also, have a colleague who was sexually assaulted by a male priest when he was a child - he will only see female doctors.

We all have a history, good and bad - sometimes, doctors and nurses are offended if their care is refused....don't take it personally, you just don't know what has preceded you....

Joel Sherman said...

David, all modesty concerns should be honored whenever it is medically possible. That is much of what this blog is about.
No question that women are at far higher risk than men of sexual assault, but the numbers that you quote depend completely on how you define an assault. The statistic that 1 in 4 women have been assaulted comes from radical feminist writings where they define an assault so loosely that it's meaningless. Basically anytime a woman regretted a consensual incident, it was considered an assault by the researchers, even if the women themselves didn't think of it as an assault. Read the works of Christina Hoff Sommers if you want references.
Same can be said about women doctors never assaulting patients. It depends how you define an assault. Sexual liaisons between women physicians and their patients, especially in psychiatry are by no means rare. For male physicians the same conduct would often be called an assault. Also women are undoubtedly far more likely to complain about improper touching during exams than men are. That's not to deny that there are far more female victims than male, but it is nowhere near as one sided as you present.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sherman you read my mind. I read a report that stated 2/3 of all women will be abused by their spouses...only later did I read that abuse included cross looks, raised voice, negative or critical comments....heck who hasn't been abused.....or abused others with that definiation. David your post is a lot like Louisa on Dr B's thread. Abuse is terrible, but not sure it plays as a major cause of modesty issues...alan

Anonymous said...

David
You don't read or hear about
female nurses and female physicians
assaulting male patients as its
usually covered up. I saw it happen
and I was a victim of it on numerous occasions. The data is there, you just have to know where
to look and keep an open mind to it
as it happens more than you'd think.

PT

Joel Sherman said...

This subject has just come up again on Bernstein which I again commented on:

I have recently commented on my blog about the claim that 1 in 4 women have been assaulted, just repeated here by Louisa.
The claim was made by radical feminists who rated the replies they received on their own. Basically any woman who had sex that she regretted or under any external influence such as alcohol was considered to be assaulted even though the woman herself thought the sex was consensual and did not consider it an assault. Few of these 'assaults' were criminal or could be tried in a court of law.
This 1 in 4 canard has permeated our culture and been taken up by federal agencies, but it is mostly fiction and feminist propaganda.
Anyone who wants to look into this further should go to Christina Hoff Sommers The War Against Boys.
None of this is to deny that sexual assaults are a problem, but it needs to be seen in context. I believe that sexual assaults against children may be as common against boys as girls, but there is no information about this that I have discovered.

Joel Sherman said...

I received an email from "Srikant Iyer" who says he is in India. He gave me a reference to his I believe new blog which has his thoughts on "Immodesty among men, gender equality, and heteronormativity." It is brief and worth a read. His view is that men are 'allowed' to be immodest because traditionally the male body is not a sex object. Women do talk about male sex bodily appeal, though not nearly as much as men talk about women, but it is rare indeed for men to talk about other men. The reverse is not true though, women do frequently discuss the sex appeal of other women.

Anonymous said...

Not only are men 'allowed' to be immodest, some medical and also religious situations require them to be that way too. And maybe some other things, like sport ... men are not really allowed to make any fuss about these, if they do, they'll be punished with ridicule.

Srikant

Tony said...

Well, what I am about to write is going to be contrary to most of the postings here.

Lately I have noticed a little too much emphasis on patient modesty during my physicals. It seems almost as if the doctor is afraid to see my skin. I have had physicals where I removed nothing, the doctor slipping the stethoscope under my shirt, or worse, listening through my shirt (does that actually work ??)

I have had other exams where I was in a gown - underwear underneath the gown - and the doctor took such great pains to try and expose only the square inch or so he was interested in at the moment that it was actually annoying.

This seemed to start about 10 years ago. Prior to that, I would be stripped to my boxers for most of the exam, and then boxers off for the genital and prostate exams. Since boxers cover at least as much, if not more, than most bathing suits do, I don't feel uncomfortable being in my boxer shorts in a doctor's office, even in the presence of female assistants or a female doctor.

I suppose some men might be uncomfortable and maybe a gown should be offered as an option, but I don't think doctors should assume all men are body shy.

Joel Sherman said...

Tony, I don't think that modesty should be permitted to hamper an adequate physical exam. And using a stethoscope through clothes is always a compromise, though it can certainly be adequate in many cases if you are listening through thin underwear. Sometimes it's easier for me to move underwear aside for an inch or two for instance than for me to insist that a woman take off her bra for a routine auscultation.
But I think a physician has to assume that the patient is modest to start with. If that's not the case, it usually becomes apparent on repeat visits. There's nothing wrong with telling the physician that you don't need a gown once you get to know each other. I wouldn't make an issue of it with a new doctor though as they might think you were a fetishist.

Anonymous said...

Are there a lot of men that feel uncomfortable stripping down in front of a male doctor? I'm as big a nude prude as you'll ever see and I don't hesitate to strip in front of someone of my own gender.

It's obviously uncomfortable for many people to strip in front of anyone, but a same-gender doctor wouldn't ruin my week. Females - never, nurses - never, but a male doctor giving me a proper exam - no.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 48 year old male and I always try to get a female nurse or tech or doctor for any medical needs I have. I get physically sick just thinking about having some dude examining me. Male doctors and nurses creep me out so bad that I have been known to vomit during the exam. Unfortunately, I got switched to a new female doc by my primary care provider and she is of the opinion that I should have a male doctor and that I need to "just get over it." She refused to examine me when I went to her office last week and is referring me to a urologist, a male urologist.

Joel Sherman said...

These last few posts do illustrate a wide variety of preferences for medical care. Everyone is entitled to have their preferences respected when possible.
For physicians gender choice is readily available, though not so with nursing care.
But anyone who gets physically ill seeing a given gender physician has a deeper problem than just modesty. You are likely severely homophobic. You could try explaining that to your physician who may think that you have a medical fetish.
As I've said before, in this country it is hard to escape receiving medical care from both male and female providers at some point in your life so your inability to tolerate male providers at all is not a healthy one.

ryan mathews said...

Anonymous of 3-22, I'm with you. Never had a problem stripping down in front of a male physician. Don't really understand some guys getting nauseous or worrying a male is gonna hit on me if he sees me naked.
Grew up with all brothers and had to share one bedroom/bathroom. So shyness in front of other men has never been an issue.
Always requested a male for pants-off examinations. Sometimes got a runaround about it from the nurse, but firmly stood my ground and got a guy sent in the room.

Anonymous said...

Great job ryan mathews(I'm the anon... you refer to). I do the same thing and I have always been sent a male, though usually after a female nurse's temper tantrum.

How can they not understand that?

DG

ryan mathews said...

DG, I think these nurses know very well it's what most male patients would prefer, especially the younger males. But they've bought into the "guys don't care" myth and therefore just assume they can stay in the room. Well, not with me.
About the worst nurse "tantrum" I ever got was in a chiropractor's office. I knew that I'd probably have to be disrobed from the waist down as I'd been treated for the same injury since high school. Made sure ahead of time that the guy was available, then got a bait and switch when I arrived for my appointment, couldn't I just see the lady phys. therapist instead? When I refused and said I'd just reschedule, the nurse glared at me, "well...we've never had THIS problem before." I was 22 at the time but knew what I wouldn't accept.
Someone posted on here a while back about women having medical clinics where there was an all female staff on certain days. I too have wondered about this, why don't men have the same option? Have even checked around for a more "male friendly" clinic but haven't found anything.

Joel Sherman said...

Anonymous posted this under gender preferences. I have moved it here.

http://weblogs.cltv.com/news/opinion/mcclendon/2008/08/women-in-mens-locker-rooms.html

In post #5, Single Donald says that WNBA allows male reporters in locker rooms too. But the players remain fully clothed (and put up with those sweaty dirty clothes they're in after the game) until the reporters go off.

I think that a lot of men are indeed not very worried about their modesty, and somehow makes it the norm.

Anonymous said...

The WNBA allows reporters in the locker room for one half hour only. After that, everyone is shooed away. Male locker rooms, on the other hand, remain open from the moment players enter until they all leave.
—rsl

Anonymous said...

Something I think there are several things that need to be recognized in this issue that crosses over into the issue of male modesty as a whole. Google a sports writer named Lisa Horne, had a blog about females or women in the locker room, does it work...and surprise being a female sports writer she determined it does work. Now what makes this a little different is she enters the locker rooms of the USC COLLEGE football team. She makes the comment something like, if they don't care why should I....so, exactly how is it determined, did she ask them flat out, did she ask every member of the 60+ team? Of did she just assume since no one protested (like medical situations) that they didn't care. Now, what would happen if they did protest, the court has already ruled they have no right to object, male atheletes like Reggie White who protested were toasted in the media as sexist, back wards, etc.. So, whether they care or not...makes little difference it is going to happen and they just have to deal with it. Now no doubt there are those who don't care....but I really doubt that out 60 out fo 60 don't care.
Issue 2, she admits the locker rooms for female atheletes are not open. Yet, she makes no apologies or no effort to use her power as a reporter to address it. The very issue of equal treatment for female reporters is ignored when it involves atheletes and it benefits females.
Issue 3. Once she starts getting push back from people who disagree and challenge her...she shuts the blog down....

There are many parrells to what we discuss here. Lets use reporters and providers as one, and patients and atheletes as the other. Reporters/providers feel they have the RIGHT to do what they feel they have absolute right to by employment and Atheletes/patients need to make accomocations and accept that and if they don't many times the provider/reporters portray the athelete/patient as sexist and wrong and the provider/reporter somehow becomes the victim even though they are the one invading the athelete/patients personal space.

Having a different set of standards for respect of modesty is accpepted when it benefits females. Closed locker rooms, all female staff and facilities are acceptable even if the same are not offered to males and this is not seen as a double standard or sexist. A female can demand a female GYN and it is understandable, a male asking for male staff is often seen as unreasonable.
Go to allnuse and see how often the threads involving patient rights and modesty violations are shut down. Dr. Sherman and Dr. Bernstein are an exception......there are a lot of similarities in how society treats this issue, and the preference or feelings of the male athelete-patient ususally has little value in this equation....alan

Joel Sherman said...

There is a little remembered article which I have seen referenced that appeared in Sports Illustrated October 15, 1990 p.40. They did a survey of 143 NFL players. 47.6% were opposed to women in the locker room, 38.5% in favor and 13.9% undecided. Although the results could be different today, it gives the lie to Lisa Horne's contention that they are all happy about women reporters presence in the locker room. Yes I believe that her view is just propaganda.
Some of the guys probably care more about the loss of their ability to blow off steam in the locker room. Many others have just gotten used to wearing towels. As I've said before, the practice is foisted on the players by the leagues which just want maximum publicity and profits. Money is the root of this. I'd bet WNBA players would agree to the same conditions as male players if they could get the men's salaries, millions instead of $50000 or so.

Anonymous said...

I recall many years ago although
I cannot remember the specifics,
nonetheless had to do with a female
reporter in a professional team's
locker room. Something happened and
the reporter sued and won.
Anyone remember this incident? One
would think this would be the impetus to reel this problem in.


PT

Joel Sherman said...

There are multiple cases PT and I don't know which one you are talking about.
The best known is Lisa Olsen and the Patriots. Don't know if it was actually a court case but the NFL came down hard on the players who did harass her. You can google deatils.
There was an interesting case, the details I forgot, but an NBA player in the locker room dropped his towel while talking to a woman, not a reporter, who was trying to raise money for a religious cause. I think she sued but the case was thrown out.

Anonymous said...

Dr Sherman - You might be refering to the Tim Hardaway incident in the NBA. If that case hadn't been thrown out I think I would have left the U.S. for good, though there have been MANY similar cases that weren't thrown out. Apparently even female religious representatives have the option to enter men's locker rooms when no men are allowed in women locker rooms huh?

ryan mathews - I didn't know patients actually undress for a chiropractor. I believe you of course but I would never have considered undressing from the waist down during a chiropractor visit, even a man. But I guess it depends on the injury. Mine was on my lower back. One thing I do remember though is a woman (didn't know her exact occupation) often walked in and out quite often but I didn't take much notice because I had only taken my shirt off. I would bet that never happened to you. Did you always make sure the door was locked or did you trust the integrity of your chiropractor?

If only more men would follow your example this nonsense would begin to stop. As soon as they see that the majority of men won't take their abuse anymore they will be forced to give men the respect they deserve.

DG

ryan mathews said...

DG - Yes, I always ask if the door is locked when I have to strip from the waist down. You just can't be afraid to speak up where your rights are concerned. While the violation of males' privacy in the medical field bothers me, I'd have to say females intruding into mens' locker rooms and public restrooms upsets me even more. If
only because I think the latter occurs much more frequently and on a larger scale.
Personally I feel my most
vulnerable and caught off guard when I'm right in the middle of relieving myself, and a woman, or even worse a young girl who's daddy brought her in, walks up behind my urinal or looks into the stall I'm occupying. The few
times this has happened to me I've felt mortified and angry. And as you might imagine, I've usually not hesitated to speak up right then and there. And even though it was a MENS' room or changing room, the female and her male sympathizers will defend her "right" to be there just as vocally.
Well, this happens to be one of
my biggest pet peeves of the gender wars.

Joel Sherman said...

Ryan,
Look at Alan's post under improve privacy rights for ideas as to what to do for unwanted intrusions in bathrooms and locker rooms. I don't think women should be present unless they have asked whoever is present, gotten their agreement, and make themselves unobtrusive.
But I disagree with your comments on children. After all, young boys have entered women's areas with their mothers forever and few object unless they are too old. I was once standing at a urinal when a toddler girl came up and said hello. Her father should perhaps have had her in better control, but she was even too young to be curious. She was just being friendly. I was kind of amused.
I don't know your age Ryan. Maybe you'd have to be a father to find that amusing.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago I was at a major
airport in Dallas Texas. I entered
the mens restroom and there was a
woman standing right next to the
mens urinals. She was selling towels and as I recall a man became
upset and left stating that "why are you in here".
The woman stated that the airport
gave her authority to be there. At
the time I really needed to go (void) and at that time I was young and really didn't know any better but did my business and left. No I didn't buy a towel and if it had happened today I'd be complaining to the media and might
even talk to an attorney if I
knew the airport knew about it.


PT

Joel Sherman said...

PT, I doubt that it could happen today anywhere in the US. If she was standing at the urinals, I'd object too. Of course she might have been an interloper trying to make a buck.
I could write a book on different bathroom customs. Some college dorms have coed bathrooms and showers though usually they're all stalls and individual showers. I have been at university concerts where the bathrooms were coed and surprisingly in houses of worship as well. No one bothered anyone else but we were all mature adults. Female attendants in men's rooms are rare in this country though common in other places, especially some Asian countries. In Italy I have stood in mixed gender lines inside coed bathrooms to use the stalls for which there was a fee. I object mostly to the fees. Stalls are private and I can get used to it.

ryan mathews said...

JS - If the women send a male in first to get permission from every guy inside, and ONLY after the guys finish and leave, let the women use the room for a while. That's the only strategy for what you're saying I can agree with. Not a woman barging in first and then asking, as is the norm.
Let me assure you it's not at all amusing when the girl wandering around the mens' room is 6 or 7 years old, as was the case.
As for coed stalls, only if they're the floor-to-ceiling stalls with a real door. Many mens' room stalls have no doors at all, and others have a crack anyone can peer thru.
PT - What an outrageous story. I don't doubt it either because this stuff happens to men all the time. I would have had to go elsewhere to void like the man who got upset. Have read about similar things occuring in Europe. Heavy-set middle-aged german women standing beside the urinals as restroom "attendants". This "career" sounds about as legitimate as female chaperones at military physicals.

Joel Sherman said...

Ryan, everyone has a different comfort level with modesty. There is no right or wrong answer. I too would be uncomfortable as I've already stated if a 7 yo girl was staring at me while I was changing or in a stall, though not because I’m especially modest. Women can have the same complaint. A 7 year old is at an age where they usually have developed self modesty so they are aware of what's going on, even if it is curiosity not sexual interest that motivates them. But the parent is at fault if they bring in a 7 yo and let them stare at people.
I have been in coed bathrooms where the stalls certainly have 'cracks' that people can see through. Never seen anyone do it. I'm not recommending coed bathrooms, but they do exist. Obviously they would be totally inappropriate in most places such as bus stations or high schools.

Joel Sherman said...

I got a chance to talk to a urologist today. I asked him how often men got embarrassed by the procedures. He responded that many did, especially if the assistant helping the doctor was a young woman. He said they frequently use older women as most guys find it less embarrassing. But they don't have any guys working there with the all male physician staff. He said they have had a few in the past, some didn't work out. But they find it hard to get any employees, let alone men for what are usually low paying jobs. Honestly though I don't think he had ever thought much about the issue, most physicians don't. Maybe he will now.

Anonymous said...

There has been an interesting exchange going on in this and Dr. Bernstein's blog. It has to do with the blog of the female urologist titled Sexism at its Best. There has been a running "dialouge" between a poster LH which I assume is female and several others including myself. I question how anyone could start with a title sexism at its best, and then contend that the thread is not at least in part a comment on gender choice by males, while she goes into a side comment about it really being about rudeness of the patient...why would you not title it as such, and she makes the statement you would never see a woman acting that way....catagorizing the whole male gender while suggesting the female gender (or visa versa) would never do that is sexist anyway you look at it. Flip the table, the female patient was so rude...you would never see a male act like that....tell me that isn't sexist....but the real question of this whole exchange that I would like to ask....is this really a major problem that is at the root of this specific section of your blog. Are the genders so focused on their own perspective that they just do not see the issue as it relates to the opposite gender. Given the gender disparity in the make up of providers...does this just then manifest itself more often with men so it seems more severe. Often women speak of ....in the past there were no female gyn's...where most male arguements start today....women have had a lot to overcome, I have heard it referred to as the "victim syndrome" where becasue of a long history of being dominated, controled, and discriminated against by men, females assume that role and view interactions and situations from that perspective. While I understand LH's contentions of how she reads the thread, I personally could not see how you could ignore the title and some of her comments inspite of her contention the issue was rudeness not sexism and read this as sexist...but I see it from a male perspective. If you read the allnurse threads, it seems more female nurses read gender preference as a personal attack on them, where more males accept it as the way it is and don't take it personal...not that they agree with it, perhaps due to the fear of allegations of misconduct male nurses face they don't seem to have as much issue with it.
Does gender of the provider have a big influence beyond numbers as to how this issue is viewed. Females seem to think they face the same challenges in same frequency as males. Males seem to feel there are more challenges to them just due to sheer numbers and becasue society seems to place less value on male modesty. I am in the second camp, but then again I am male......however, my suggestion that males due to the numbers of female providers and society putting less value on male modesty does not in anyway mean I feel it is less of an issue for females, nor does it have any less impact on females nor is it any less serious for females........yet, we seem to have a battle of the sexes even with a common goal.....anyone find this interesting and frustrating at the same time? It seems almost to me like often people feel men can not be the subject of discrimination because historically they have been the perveyors of the problem, so it somehow is an afront to females for males to claim that position now regardless of the situation...somehow it seems to be seen as diminishing the wrongs and struggles of females in the past and ignores the current inequities they still face...if that is the case, and 90% of nurses are female....does that have credence in this issue????....alan

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the female urologist should
reprimand her secretary as I suspect she probably did not divulge the gender of the provider
or perhaps she was told not to.
Many female patients are reminded
that " this doctor is a male,do you
mind." This option is NOT given to
male patients.


PT

Joel Sherman said...

LH said in a later post that she did not initially notice the title of the thread. And she is correct that the second example she gives, the guy who didn't trust any female physician, probably was sexist, though we don't know the real context of his comment. But certainly the title implies that Keagirl thought both patients were sexist. PT, I believe Keagirl said that usually her patients know they are going to see a woman, so I guess their system broke down. But I suspect that many women would disagree with your statement that they are always given a choice of gender. My daughter just told me that in her present locality only male gynecologists were available. The few women in practice weren’t taking new patients.
Undoubtedly our perspectives are shaped by our own gender and it may be difficult to appreciate the other side. I know I have a male outlook. That's why I would welcome more women here to gain further perspective. Women have been the underdogs for eons. They are catching up amazingly rapidly in areas of employment opportunities and don't need special help there in my view. In fact the huge numbers of undereducated men are the ones in trouble now. But women bear the brunt of domestic responsibilities in most relationships. Maybe they always will. Society still expects women to do the majority of mothering.

Anonymous said...

Slightly at a tangent maybe but I watched a TV drama last night on UK TV about two young men with serious disabilities which rendered them both wheelchair bound and in the care home they lived in the (mature) ladies bathed them and I was wondering what would have been said if a male helper had bathed the women residents.

Joel Sherman said...

Probably nothing.
When my mother was in a nursing home there were several male attendants who bathed patients. I saw them taking care of several women. This may not be the same everywhere, but it certainly happens, especially in nursing homes where perhaps most patients are beyond caring.

Anonymous said...

@ alan

I think the blogger means to give an example of sexism at its best by demonstrating how sexist she herself is. ;)

Anonymous said...

http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

This explains why gender discrimination has also been a problem for men. Yes, the richest and the most powerful have been mostly men for long, but so have the most destitute.

Joel Sherman said...

This is a fascinating and original article as far as I'm aware. Thank you.
I'm about half way through.
Anyone interested in gender differences should read through it.
I will also post it in the equal employment and gender thread.

Anonymous said...

While I didn't get through the whole article I intend to go back and finish it. There was an article on MSN yesterday written by a female on are women better managers. The jest of it was the "female persona" was better as weomen were able to relate and build teams better than men. She also addressed the issue of right side vs left side function of the brain by gender but basically discounted that and said female brains have more nerves connecting the hemispheres so her conclusion...and I can't recall the exact words....but very close to "women are just better than men". Now if a male wrote the reverse article they would be roasted as sexist. I believe the overall views of society have drastically been changed by the different movements. These movements were indeed needed as the way we treated women and minorities was disgraceful.......however, I beieve the pace at which we needed to correct those dispairities perhaps caused us to accept "affirmative action" in practice and thought to achieve the evolution in as short a period as possible. We have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. It required actions such as aggressive condemnation of the actions of those in power. Unfortunately, that appears to have become condemnation of not only male actions but males, and as the dispairity closed and we approached parity that practice continued. It is perfectly acceptable to bash men, to make statements like women are better, etc. but the reverse is unacceptable. I think that carries over into our discussion of medical modesty. The female patient is justified in her demand for same gender care becasue of fear the provider may assult them. Classifying the complete male medical care community as potential molesters from whom female patients need protection is accepted without challenge. On the other hand, male modesty is seen as sexist. I think it is a refection of societal views as a whole only amplified by the need to compromise modesty. To me the most problematic part of this is it seems acknowledgement of this is seen as somehow diminishing the wrongs done to women in the past and still occur.

Anonymous said...

I find it impossible to believe that there are any "caregivers", particularly in the Urology field that don't realize how difficult and humiliating it is for men when female nurses, techs and assistants are used for embarrassing exams or procedures. There's no way they can not be aware of that, yet they continually use females and give men little or no choice in the matter.

I don't have any respect for any medical office, clinic or hospital that doesn't have at least one male nurse or tech, especially in areas such as Urology and Radiology. They most certainly will never have my business or my family's or anyone else I can warn about it. I hate to put it this way but, HOW DARE THEY?

To me that is EXTREMELY unethical and it shouldn't be allowed to happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting tired of being condemned for what men did 30, 40, 100 years ago and earlier.

Neither I, my father, his father or his father (as far as I know) have ever mistreated women, owned a slave or bashed a woman on the head with a club and dragged her to our bed.

Why do I (and all other men) have to keep being punished for something we had nothing to do with? This isn't really a question I'm addressing to anyone in particular, it's more of an observation. When are feminists and the NAACP ever going to realize that very few of us are like that?

When will there be an organization that protects male modesty? My guess is NEVER!

Joel Sherman said...

Commenting on the last 3 anonymous posts:
First, I agree it seems to be relatively acceptable, at least in the mainstream media to bash and make fun of men, but you rarely see the converse of women. How many commercials have I seen where guys are made out to be buffoons? Too many to count. I personally find these commercials offensive. The only defense is to make your feelings known. There have been a few particularly offensive commercials of girls making fun of boys that have been withdrawn.
Second, I assume you saw my post concerning the urologist I spoke to. I think they'd be happy to hire some men if they could find them, but they don't make it a priority. If more men spoke up about it, they certainly would.
Third, no real answer for that. It's hard to correct past wrongs and the memories linger on. There are many many other examples such as our national history of racial injustice. Like Obama says on that issue, it's time to move on. Feminists clearly still believe that women face many handicaps. It's true in some areas, especially domestic areas, but not much in employment anymore.

Anonymous said...

I really have no doubt that inequality against women still exists, I would not even argue it is more prevelant than against men but closing, what I do object to is what appears to be a common attitude that becasue women were mistreated in the past, and because females still face challenges men can not claim or experience discrimination, if we recognize male discrimination it some how takes away from what women faced and continue to face, and this is the one that really gets me, since women were mistreated and continue to face issues it is OK to discriminate and mistreat men. The its our turn now does nothing to promote equal rights, two wrongs do not make a right, and it further jusifies the wrongs committed by some in their minds.....alan

Joel Sherman said...

Alan, I agree that some feminists think that anything goes to catch up for past discrimination. But they don't write the laws.
Nearly all laws in this country are written in a gender neutral manner, sometimes with unintended consequences. One legislator in a northwest state was abashed when the first prison guard to be tried for having sex with a prisoner was a woman.
Men are suing under equal employment laws for example. I don't recall the exact number but they are at least 10% of all cases. In short, the laws do mandate gender equality in the vast majority of cases. So go by the law and keep speaking up.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what men did wrong if
anything 30,40 and 100 years ago.
It was not and is not my problem
as they have the same opportunities
as I have. I'm expected to be treated equally and professionally
in any healthcare setting as they
would prefer and if thats not possible they are in the wrong line
of work.


PT

Joel Sherman said...

This interesting link was given on Bernstein concerning a woman physicians take on '10 reasons why men avoid health care.' It included men are afraid of getting a finger in their 'butt' and other similar comments.

I couldn't resist posting this response:

I know this thread is likely dormant, but it still deserves a comment.
Yes it IS condescending and demeaning though it is undoubtedly well meant.
So guys are afraid to go because they might 'get a finger in the butt.' Dr Orrange, do you enjoy a finger in the butt? It is in fact equally valid to say some women avoid gynecologic care because they are afraid of a finger in their c-nt. That sounds crude and demeaning, but why say it about men? When women avoid health care it is considered a serious health problem due to matters of access, insurance, cost, and unfounded anxieties. When men do the same it is a matter of jokes. Yes women are better at it, because they can't avoid it if they want children. Men don't face the same issues, for better or worse.
It would be far better to come up with constructive suggestions rather than try to shame men into getting preventative care. Does USC offer and advertise a men's health clinic? There are 5-10 times as many women's health clinics available. Are men made to feel comfortable when they go? Is same gender care an option? My urologist admits that many men are embarrassed when young female assistants (who may be just out of high school) assist by holding a guy's penis out of the way for procedures. Would you go to the gynecologist if he/she was assisted by an 18 year old guy?
There are many things that could be done to convince men to get more routine and preventative care. Shaming and demeaning men is not likely to help.

Joel Sherman said...

I have written to Dr Orrange and received a courteous reply.
Don't know if it will affect her thinking and actions at all but at any rate, she is certainly a caring physician. She just easily fell into our mass media trap of making fun of men's health care concerns. It's not just her. It's everywhere.
Saw a play at a local theater the other night (Midlife Crisis, the Musical), and sure enough they had one brief skit of 2 men sitting in a doctors office talking to each other about how much they dreaded rectal exams. Then they are told that their doctor is gone that day and a young beautiful woman introduces herself as their doctor of the day. They both jump up eagerly and follow her. What sheer demeaning nonsense. Never seen anything similar concerning women patients, but men are frequently portrayed as buffoons.

Anonymous said...

I tried to post but had trouble with the registry. I am going to try again. I think her post is very telling. The fact that she would feel comfortable making those statements in writing in a public forum is a glimspe into how little thought is given to the male in medicine. No male doctor with any common sense would think of make statements of that nature about female pelvic exams...I hope to try to post, if I can't get it done want to try to touch base with her somehow...I think its important she hears from as many of us as possible....alan

MER said...

A few items more thoughts on Dr. Orange's sexist article. I'm sure she has the best intentions and is a caring doctor. That's only part of the point. The full point is that good doctors like that make comments like she did because, the cultural ambience is ripe for the accepteance of those stereotypes.

But, I'll wait for her to give an explanation of her comments on her blog. If she doesn't do that, she's hiding behind the protection of her gender and may be a coward. If she's brave enough to post what she did, she should be brave enough to either express her regrets or explain what she was thinking.

Anonymous said...

I too received a very courtious response from Dr Orrange...I think she is great for our wives..and provides a lot of support to them...but she is clueless that her attitude is probably close to the number one reason men don't go to the doctor..she is clueless as to male modesty...and I am sure she has no idea that the demeaning and shaming way she wrote will make more men come up with more excuses on why they don't go to a doctor.
Thanks for communicating with her...sounds like you got about the same response I did...that most people think she is huggable..and in many ways she most likely is...the site the article is on seems to be one providing great service to many..
leemac

Joel Sherman said...

My guess is that Dr Orrange is liked by her male patients and that the attitude she expresses in the blog is not seen by her patients.
I doubt however that she has any real interest in men's health. She's a general internist who probably is asked to blog on a lot of different topics. Don't think she gave it much thought and just fell into the mass media trap of making humor out of men's health issues. She said she was trying to be humorous. She never thought of the double standard involved when comparing her attitude to women's health issues.

Anonymous said...

the sad part is as an assistant professor she is influencing other providers. I tried to post but am having trouble, please everyone post on her blog and express your displeasure. the fact that she feels she can say and post those things is ridiculous. Perhaps you can give us some direction on how we can contact her...she needs to hear from other males...she did get a post from Dr. Bernstein's blog....from suzanna on female pelvic exams...totally missed the point. I am going to keep tyring but if I can't post I would like to know how to contact her on email...her post was truely troubling and the fact that she appears to not only nor recognize her error, but even when confronted with it fails to acknowledge it...very troubling and it needs addressed.....thanks...alan

Joel Sherman said...

Alan, on the site she is listed as http://www.dailystrength.org/people/143 .
If that doesn't work email me (address given under my profile) and I can give you her email address at usc, which may be available online. I just don't feel free publishing her email online without asking permission

Anonymous said...

Alan


PT here. Nothing is to be
gained by trying to contact her
or communicating with her. In
fact there is nothing we can learn
from her. The best thing we can do
is simply ignore her.
I can assure you by now she
has most likely read every thread on this site and Dr B's site as well. She probably enjoys stirring
up debate as well as irritating
others. It's all part of the double
standard.
Personally I'm not concerned
with what she says in that I'd never be a patient of hers. Someone
with that attitude can't be a caring person on the other hand
I think it is something thats worth
writing the California state medical board over.
Even attorney's have ethical
rules on advertising and contibuting to a medical blog as
she does is considered advertising
her services. Think about it, what
man would want to be her patient?
Those that frequent the voy
forums would be my guess.


PT

Anonymous said...

If you go to the homepage of daily strength , Dr Orrange has posted a new article..however it seems to miss the point entirely....you just have to read it yourself

http://www.dailystrength.org/blog/496-there-womens-health
leemac

Joel Sherman said...

Well I can't agree with that PT. Chances are great that she's a caring physician who is amenable to rational discussion. And nothing about her post is unethical. I'd go for sexist, but that's not a crime. She undoubtedly thinks for some strange reason that men need to be humored or shamed into obtaining medical care.
I must say though that I'm not a big proponent of 'huggable medicine' that she seems to promote.
I don't think she has ever visited this site by the way.

Joel Sherman said...

I have just posted this on Dr. Orrange's site:

Dr Orrange, I'm not sure what your point is. My point from your '10 reasons men avoid health care post' was that men seem to need more encouragement to enter the medical system, certainly not that women should get less attention. Men's health clinics may be one way to achieve that; it has not been tried to a significant degree. Men are not under represented in medicine; they are under represented in receiving primary care. The two are not related.
Would men's clinics attract a significant number of men? I really don't know, but it is worth a serious look.
Women's reproductive health is treated by ob-gynes, men's by urologists. All other issues can be handled by general physicians for both sexes. Women's clinics provide women a comfortable environment to discuss their questions, not any expertise. Men who are embarrassed to seek medical care have no haven available. Women's health clinics nearly always offer an all female staff. Even urologists offices rarely have more than a few male employees excluding the physicians; sometimes they have none. Modern medicine pretends that all care is gender neutral, but we all know that patients are not and most of us have some preferences. Women's preferences are accommodated, men's are not.
I'm not sure what your point is for the rest of your post. There are differences between cardiovascular disease between men and women, though the similarities are much more important. The biggest difference is that women are on the average 10 years older than men before becoming subject to them. The reasons for this are poorly understood. But because men are younger they die in greater numbers at younger ages and the impact is much larger. Best screening for prostate cancer is controversial, but that's true for many women's issues as well such as pap screening and mammography. I still don't see the point.
Men receive less health care than women and die younger. How can we change that? Men's clinics may or may not be a practical answer. But I know that your proposals are worse, shaming and ridiculing men to get their 'butts' and 'balls' examined, and offering them hugs.
You're right on one point. There is no academic push to increase men's participation in their own health care. You obviously are not interested in finding out why.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for your response to Dr Orrange. You articulated the situation extremely well...You certainly expressed many of the frustrations men have.
leemac

Anonymous said...

I urge any male reading this to go to the site and challenge Dr. Orange. To be honest I found her 10 reasons to be in poor taste, but took them to be a poor decision on her part trying to be cute. I actually thought PT went over the line saying he had filed a complaint....then I read her follow up on mens specialty clinics...to find it go to the site and wellness and go to the wellness blog. After reading her comments on whether men's clinics are needed or valid like womens clinic's I think I was wrong, she is just blantanly sexist. I was stunned to read her comments and could not believe she could not see the hypocrisy and how sexist she is. This is paticularly troubling as she is an assistant professor at USC. She basically says womens clinics were formed to provide care for women by PCP in preventative health care and to address needs specific to women that men didn't need such as breast cancer, OB/GYN etc...but basically said we need to question the need for these clinics for men as they could get care through general medicine....I was stunned. How she could not see that men have the exact same situation with prostate issues, testicular cancer, erectile dysfunction....is beyond me. She further justified the disparity in funding between breast cancer and prostate cancer becasue they spend a lot of money on heart research and in the past most of the partcipants were male......scary scary scary that someone of her mentality is teaching future doctors.....I had trouble with my registration and had to use my business e-mail and different ID to register so I had to go as doalan there.....but please everyone, go to the thread, register and get a ID and respond to here. PT my apology, I think sometimes you come on a little strong, and still hope if we get providers coming here we will all temper our responses so as not to send them packing....but you were right on the money with her, the only way women got anyone's attention was by filing suits and going postal when they were faced with someone like this....I hope you get a response and share it...she is ridiculously sexist ....alan

Anonymous said...

With all do respect Alan I do come
on strong and there is a reason for
it. Men have been lapse about this
problem for a little too long. I
see the problem more than just a
modesty issue. It involves fairness
and equality,lack of respect and
discrimination.
Keep in mind and as I've said on
more then one occasion I've seen it,experienced it as a patient and
as a healthcare worker and as such
I'm more than acutely aware of it.
Perhaps much more so than the average male and as a result I've
learned that being nice dosen't
solve anything. Her response was
quite predictable as usual which
is to avoid the issue altogether
with an unrelated response.
There level of hate I have for
people like her is limitless and
unless a point is made about these
kinds of attitudes they will continue to foster. How many women
do you think have read that thread
and got a big laugh out of it? How
many men thought it was funny, too
bad the joke is on them and they
never saw it coming.
Just which audience is she really reaching out to or is she
just making a statement. I see more
of a sexist here with regards to
her comments and what is up with
this hug thing anyway.
Her comments are synonymous with
a trend of male bashing. You see it
on commercials, portrayed in male
characters and other advertisements. Young boys see this
as well and just what kind of a signal does that send to our youth.
As a Physician she should know
better and some attitudes should
be left out of healthcare. Remember
Alan its people like her as to why
threads like this exist.


PT

Anonymous said...

PT, I understand a little more after reading her blog and your response. My comments were not meant negatively toward you. I do think if we get a provider to join Dr. Sherman and Dr. Bernstein's blogs it is in our best interest to keep them involved as long as we can. For several reasons, there is the chance that they will read and understand this is not a couple of crackpots, its a ligit issue for more than they think. And we can possibly learn something from what they are thinking. I really struggle trying to understand how and why they don't recognize this issue. So I think it is best to temper our response especially in the begining to foster that interaction...we can still ask and challenge but do so in a less threatening manner....however, when I read her follow up to the 10 reasons...I was stunned, I realized that what I assumed was just poor judgement or an misguided attempt at humor was actually a true reflection of her rampant sexism. Not only did she not address her previous transgression...she compounded it by one of the most obvious and ridiculous post imaginable. How she could make that post and not see her own hypocrisy in it was a real eye opener for me. I really was shocked. So what I first saw as perhaps over reaction on your part...became something I thought was warrented. As a matter of fact it is my intent to send a letter to USC stating my disapproval. From your response I realized women did not make their advances by being nice, they made they by being activist and reacting strongly. There appears to be no reaching her on a normal basis, she won't even respond to posts on her blog. It appears to me that men are afraid to challenge these situations with women for fear of backlash. We need to create that same fear FOR men. If enough people would complain to the proper authorities and administrations, this type of reverse discrimination will also be viewed a little more seriously. I am definatley going to send a letter of disapproval to USC. I have no thought that I will change things with a single letter...but it has to start somewhere. Where did you send your letter? Hope others will join in and make one many....alan

Anonymous said...

oticed that there have been quite a few responses on the site with DrOrranges article...many of them quite strong in opposition to her stance...I think the issue is getting a lot more folks who aren't remainiing silent anymore active instead of being quiet..
leemac

Anonymous said...

Right on PT, Alan and leemac.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sherman, I have been talking a little off line with Jimmy and Leemac. We are going to make an effort to plant the seed to start exploring a group to form an more organized effort on this front. We would like to use your "what can we do site as the vehicle to clear comments and get organized if you don't mind. None of us are techno savy so rather than reinvent the wheel....I just wanted to run it by you before we started...just realized I should have posted this there...maybe you can let us know and move it then we can see where it goes

Joel Sherman said...

That's fine.

ESF said...

Forgive me if someone already posted this....but I, like many others, have had to take the drug-screen urinalysis, or "piss test", many times when applying for jobs. On one of those occasions, a female lab tech stood INSIDE the men's rest room while three men when into the stalls to urinate into the bottles. Would a male lab tech have posted himself inside a women's rest room? Hell, no !!

Anonymous said...

ESF,
Did you at least get to shut the stall door? Even if you did though it's not right to have her in there. Did any of you object?

I've heard many horror stories about female nurses or receptionists that believe they have the right to not only make you lift your shirt and drop your underwear and do a 360 for her, but also many that insist on actually watching the urine come out. Nobody I know has ever told me that happened to them but I've literally heard that hundreds of times.

Pretty disgusting and unethical.

DG

ryan mathews said...

ESF & DG- I read an account several years ago of a middle aged female who once chaperoned urine testing in the military. She claimed to have observed hundreds of males pee into a cup over a day's time. She was practically boasting over how much she enjoyed her assignment because of the age of the young men and their awkwardness at performing the task in front of her. I have since tried to find the blog it was posted on but it no longer exists.

Anonymous said...

we have touched on the posts by Dr Orrange on dailystrength. Her post were extremely sexist yet she chastises everyone who presented opposing views...imagine my surprise when I went to the USC med school web site and discovered she was an assistant professor and lectured on among other things...womens health issues...so that is something that is often ignored. Female providers can be sexist just as males can, but when it is a female as the offender...there seems to be no recognition of the offense...it reflects poorly on USC as well as her, but then USC has the policy of allowing women in the male sports teams locker rooms...but not the other way so perhaps this says something about the university as well........

Joel Sherman said...

You shouldn't be surprised that Dr Orrange is an assistant professor. Most full time physicians at a university with any seniority would have at least that rank. Given her comments, I'm also not surprised that she lectures on women's health issues. Didn't think she had any real interest in men's issues except to write a 'humorous' column. I doubt that she'll do that again.
But I don't think USC's locker room policies have any relevance to medical practice.

Anonymous said...

I agree other than the fact that there is a double standard at play. The comments were forwarded to USC, there was no reply from USC. Now if a male professor made these same comments about females do you think it would have been blown off. I think sometime those who are the most "enlightened" are responsible for advancing this double standard in an effort to be politically correct. That appears from the limited information on Dr. Orrange's post and the blog by a female sports writer that the double standard does not appear to be an issue for USC as long as it is against males

Anonymous said...

There is an issue I have regarding
the female sportswriter who visits
the mens locker room. One comment
she made in particular was "I'm just one of the guys". I'm curious
as to what she meant. Can she play
ball. If I toss her an M-16 can she
walk next to me through the land of
hell for 377 days.


PT

MER said...

Joel wrote: "But I don't think USC's locker room policies have any relevance to medical practice."

Not directly, but certainly indirectly. There is a big picture regarding gender equity and double standards in this country. Medicine is part of that big picture and general attitudes in society about men's lack of modesty get reflected in all aspects of our lives. But the more I study this, the more I see that people (men and women) who benefit from double standards, are reluctant to change the status quo. It's not that they don't recognize the double standard. Some do, some don't. But why change a system that priviledges you? As humana beings, we often accept priviledged status if offered to us. That attitude, I believe, is the kind of attitude that's not uncommon in medicine, locker rooms and other areas.

Anonymous said...

One thing you will notice that is common among sportswriters and providers...when you ask would allow an opposite gender janitor to clean the locker room while you shower. After all they are just doing their job, to which some will reply but we are professionals. Yet, at one of the Ivy Leauge Schools a female shool newspaper reporter wrote a scathing article about how she wasn't readily accepted in the mens locker room after all she was a reporter doing her job....she was 19, then there is the 18-19 year old professional CNA who took some courses in high school who now is a medical professional....what really makes them different from the janitor..is they are the victim not the perp. There arguements are so ridiculous, think Lisa Horne went around and asked each guy if it worked for them, think she used one of the toilets while she was being one of the guys....she isn't as Obnoxious in her sexism, but she is still wrong...she even admits it is wrong that the girls locker rooms are closed while the mens are open to her....but doesn't offer to do anything about it.....my question..do they really not recognize how ridiculous their arguments are and do they really not see the double standard...or do they see it and just defend it since they benefit from it.....alan

Anonymous said...

on the topic of females "jobs" taking them into male locker rooms, anyone ever read this from tennis.lohudblogs.com? kenny posted in '07:
At my high school, the athletic director just retired. He was an old man, and after 20 years I guess he had had enough. Anyway, the woman who replaced him(school's first ever female AD) is about 30-something years old and has two kids (if that matters). Anyway, because it's a traditionally male role, the AD's office is attached to the boys's locker room, and the only way in and out is to walk directly through the locker room. On the way out there are open showers
that can be clearly seen as well as urinals. Is it appropriate for the AD to see these boys naked in the showers or at the urinals? If not what can be done about it? The arrangement right now is kind of getting me angry because I don't want some lady watching me shower after gym class.

Joel Sherman said...

Anonymous, of course there's something you can do. Complain. Best if your parents did it, but you and other guys can do it as well. Complain to the principle, and if you get no response, complain to the board of education. Threatening a lawsuit would be very effective. Offices get moved around all the time and they almost certainly can find her an office which doesn't invade anyone's privacy. It's hard to believe any high school could sanction such an arrangement.
Please give a more specific link to the tennis blog as I can't find what story you're referring to.

Anonymous said...

http://tennis.lohudblogs.com/2006/09/05/women-on-the-outside-again/

Truth-Will-Come-Out said...

Hi Dr.Sherman

I posted this over on Dr.Bernstein Blog. Will you post it on yours also. Did U get my e-mail ?...


This is something I have been working on lately. I saw something like this on the web from a female Doctor, talking about what she did, when her husband was inpatient.

I would invite anyone to add to this letter, I don't think we will get far with asking the powers that be in health care to change...I say,We need to tell them what we expect from the people who are taking care of us.

JJ..

I want people to realize I am not saying all females in healthcare are bad. In fact I have had female nurses that provided excellent quality of care. They have saved my life more than once and not just from disease but from the ignorance of some Doctors. I have had infections where they didn't think I would live very long and I know it was because of nurses diligence to my care that I survived..

Ethics and Morals need to be instilled in all employees. In the rush of the need for Nurses and Techs the quantity of people has overtaken the quality of people. Whom you accept into these positions.

This is the first thing you need to focus on, because without a strong foundation of these qualities, you are assured of failure, in the care and protection of those who seek your help.

These next items should be preceded by a questionnaire asking people if they care whether their caregivers are Male or Female. You can not ask this question verbally because the stigma of verbally answering a preference for a male is to great, for a male patient. Especially if it is asked by a Female.

There should be at least one Male Tech and Nurse on every shift. The duties of helping male patients bathe or the insertion of a urinary catheter should be preformed by a one male Nurse or Tech who does nothing else until those items are done. This is already being done in large teaching hospitals that I have been inpatient ..

Patients should be told that they do not have to wear the pathetic gowns that are used in healthcare. That they can bring clothing from home.

All patients should be woke up at night when blood work or vitals are taken as to elevate any concerns or fears that they may have.

Employees having access to patients should not be allowed to carry a personal cell phone with a phone camera. The potential for abuse is to great.

All employees should have there Id information on both sides of their badge...There has been numerous times when they turn them around, so people can't see there Name.

JJ.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Whilst much has been made of doctors and nurses in relation to male modesty, I want to raise the issue of contintence physios. I have had sugerey for rectal ca, this had meant that fecal incontience is an issue for me. To this end, I have been seeing a physiotherapist at a clinic attached to the hospital in Australia.
As you can imagine some of the examinations and the treatement posibilities is invasive and I have asked about a male physio. No such luck. None exists in the clinic. I checked on the physio Associations site and there are no males who list that as a speciality in the entire State! I know that broadley continence is seen as a "female issue" , but I am sure that there are many males in my position (EG those who have had surgery for prostate or rectal cancer)
I raised this with the female physio and she said that only two men undertook the specialist course in all the time she was teaching it. I have written to the physio association and will do so to the hospital. But I did find it very interesting.

Chris

MER said...

Chris:

Here are a few suggestions.

In a case like this, I think the most important thing to do is to try to develop a relationship with one or two female clinicians who will be working on you. If you are able to do that, then let the facility know that you'd prefer a male, but if there is really no possibility of getting one, and you can't travel elsewhere to find one -- then the bottom line is that you want those specific clinician to work with you. No others. They should understand that, and should be able to adjust the schedule. This is if you can get to a point where you feel at least somewhat comfortable with this care.

If they won't do this for you, or if you absolutely don't feel comfortable with opposite gender care -- I would suggest you file a complain with the clinic or hospital, and also with the ethics board. You might say that you're getting treatment because it's a life and death situation, but you're doing it under protest because you feel your dignity is not being addressed, and that you resent the double standard men are subjected to. Get that in writing.

And I think this is something any men (or women) can do. Get the treatment, even if it's embarrassing. Make you're preferences known. If they won't address the issue, or if it can't be addressed and you can't travel somewhere -- make it clear that you're getting this treatment under protest, that it's life or death, and you have to have it done. But you resent the way you're being treated. We need to start getting this situation in writing.

Anonymous said...

Joel,

Just to make it clear this treatment is "not a life or death situation". The life or death was the orginal chemo, radiation and then surgery which I had. In that situation I understood that to a certain extent I had to make some compromises to my dignity and to a certain extent my preference for same gender care. (though there were some things I could and did do, which is perhaps for another blog.)
This is more "quality of life" type situation following the extensive treatement, and whilst important, certainly a voluntary decision on my part.
My point was that the issue about same gender care and the "imbalance" of phsiotherapists, and how our discussion about male modesty should be extended beyond just the medical/nursing environment.
I take your point about insisting on working with a least only one or two providers if I must have females. Travelling is not an option as it would mean travelling by plane to another city of at least an hours flight away and then not be sure I could find anyone.

Chris

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks for your comments Chris.
MER's response is about as good as you can do; that is to make the medical establishment aware of your concerns and preferences. If enough guys did it, they would certainly encourage more men to enter the field. I say that with the assumption that Australian medicine works in similar ways to American. I don't know if you might have other avenues open to you in Australia. If you can prove a 'special need,' such as a history of prior abuse, you might be able to put enough pressure on the system to accommodate you by sending in a special duty male nurse.
Lacking that, just continue to make your needs known, forcing the system to at least recognize the problem, which most medical establishments deny the existence of.

Anonymous said...

I can't comprehend why "Kenny" and his fellow students (if this really is a true experience) didn't make a huge deal about the perverted AD after the first time she wandered into the boy's locker room. I know that my fellow students and I would have never permitted this to happen after the first day. If nothing else we would have refused to change or shower (most of us anyway) in there until that unethical invasion of our privacy was stopped. I wonder if the school board knew about that ridiculous situation.

If that really happened it blows my mind to think it could actually happen in the U.S. I would think that the parents would have made sure it stopped immediately. There had to be at least a few boys that told their parents about it.

I remember a few years ago when a high school girl went in to the boys locker room in Oregon. It made national news. She was even interviewed on several TV shows. How would Kenny's scenario be any different? Maybe because she was a teacher and not a student?

Joel Sherman said...

Anonymous, I agree with your comment. I too was skeptical about that post but elected to publish it anyway. More specific details would have made it more believable. There have been several other possible fantasy or fetish posts that I have not published. I will not let the blog to turn into a fetish site.
I have seen similar more believable stories from high schools involving women trainers. The tendency in this country though is the other way around on a high school and younger level. Some schools and scouting discourage or even ban same sex teachers or leaders from watching the guys shower, wanting to keep adults and children separate to ? discourage pedophiles. Don't know what they do if fights break out. But as I understand it, many schools discourage showering at all nowadays.
By the way the high school scenario is unlikely, but it does happen with sports teams in colleges frequently with trainers and reporters though each school may have their own policies.

Joel Sherman said...

I am reposting this anonymous comment from the 'new topics' thread.

Another topic that has not been discussed as far as I can determine is the surgical prep of males having abdominal surgery.
My husband who is 50 had a hernia repaired last year in the one-day surgery department of a hospital.
He was prepped from nipples to mid-thigh by a young woman who could not have been over 20 years old.
She was an aide or technician, I assume. She was not nurse, not that it make any difference in the context being discussed. I was a med-surg nurse for 20 years in that same hospital. Never once did a female nurse, aide, or technician
do male abdominal preps while I was employed there, nor did we do catheterizations, etc. There were
male employees who did those jobs.
What has changed? Why are such preps now done by females? By the way, the young lady said she does this task every morning, so this was not an emergent situation, but it was a routine practice.
I wonder if this practice is unique to that facility, or is it something that is now widespread.
And, what do males think of this?
My husband was surprised, and was not at all pleased with it.
I think such an extensive prep is usually not done nowadays, but every hospital has its own procedures. But certainly the days of male orderlies doing this on men is long gone. Orderlies nowadays only do transport functions in the hospitals I'm familiar with. Don't really know why all hospitals seemed to make this change. I believe it was basically a cost saving measure, but there is never any real attempt made to have male technicians do this on floors. There are male technicians and assistants, but they're usually only in the OR and other specialized areas. I don't agree with the policy. As these are low paid jobs, these positions don't attract many guys.

MER said...

This change has happened for a number of reasons, I believe:
-- Economic. Money always talks, so any change that saves money seems to be a top priorioty in medicine these days, regardless of how it affects the dignity of the patient.
-- These jobs are low pay, low status jobs. Task oriented training, not real medical training. Nurses do very little bedside nursing these days. Too much paperwork.
-- Generally, men are not attracted to orderly type jobs anymore for several reasons besides the pay. Too many stereotypes attached to male nurses and assts. This a female dominated field, and some men don't appreciate their token status.
-- The empowerment movement in nursing along with the gender neutral stance in medicine have created an atmosphere of inner focus -- focus inward into what's in the best interest of the system, the hospital, the clinic, the nurse, the cna, the doctor -- rather than patient comfort -- especially when it comes to modesty.
-- Men just don't speak up. If they did, and insisted on same gender care, the system would get the message. It's not that the system doesn't know that men are uncomfortable. They know. But why change procedure if you can get away with the way it is. Nurses and cna's not only become accustomed to this, after awhile some become emboldened. It becomes a right, an entitlement. They need to do this job and move on to the next. They've got a lot to do. They learn strategies to -- the kind word would be "influence" men to get let them get on with it; the less kind word would be "intimidate." What they do to get the uncomfortable, silent, man to let them do the job runs along that line between influencing and intimidating. Why do they do this? Because it works.
The key to all this is the fact that most men do not speak up. Until they do, this will continue to happen, and those who do speak up will either be accommodated or be met with a deer in the headlights look as if the nurse or cna had never in her wildest dreams heard of such a request.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment MER, and you made a great point. I might take it to more of an extreme than you suggest but I would flat out refuse to be prepped by a woman, especially a teenager. If that'sthe only choice than I would cancel the surgery (assuming it isn't an emergency). Even in an emergency I would make such a fuss that I can't forsee it being "forced" on me. Men need to stand up and defend themselves. Don't just be silently furious about it. Refuse it.

My father was an orderly in the late '60s and his training was equal to a CNA. 2 hours a day, 2 days a week for 6 weeks. 24 totals hours of training. In his 2 years as an orderly at our (fairly large)local hospital he never once saw a naked female and never heard of a female having anything to do with a naked male patient. Men prepped, bathed, catheterized, etc. only men as did women with the women. What happened to proper ethics? To modesty, morality and respect? Is money all that matters anymore?

I (thank God) haven't had a reason to spend any time at our hospital and haven't heard many complaints from family or friends other than women being disrespected while giving birth, but that seems to be universal. There appears to be an abundance of male nurses there, so I'm thinking we are well above average on that respect. So maybe my fathers experience as an orderly wasn't the norm, but I see no reason why it can't be similar in hospitals today. I see no excuse for it other than greedy administrators and power-craving female nurses, techs and CNAs.

LA

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 5-26 mentioned the case of an Oregon high school senior girl, Leslie Shorb who entered the boys' locker room after gym class. She undressed and two boys saw her enter the shower. Five of her male student friends
entered the shower shortly after Shorb did. The five boys who showered with Shorb later claimed to have been unbothered because they had skinny dipped with her on previous occasions. There were both freshmen and senior boys in the gym class at the time. Some of them said they felt uncomfortable with Shorb being in the shower room. Other boys present in the locker room left during the incident and some of them were huddling together or hiding. The male gym teacher wasn't present and only heard rumors about the incident days later. Just this week four teenage football players were convicted as adults for raping another teen boy in the locker room of their high school. The victim's screams could be heard outside the locker room. These cases demonstrate a lack of supervision by male faculty. Is it homophobia in the male coaches which keeps them from monitoring the boys while undressing? Could incidents like these eventually lead to having females supervising boys' locker rooms?

Joel Sherman said...

I don't know anything about the second high school incident you mentioned, but I think you'll find that institutions are afraid of having adults around when kids are nude. Their concern is being accused of pedophilia. The boy scouts suffered when it become known that some scoutmasters were pedophiles and abused boys. This was no different from the scandals in the Catholic church in this country and Ireland.
Many places discourage nudity and if it is necessary, prefer an adult presence be kept to a minimum. Some prefer to have 2 adults available so that they can defend each other against accusations easier. A sign of our times.

Anonymous said...

the question of whether the experience for men and women is really any different. I and others have contended that it is from the fact that the gender make up of providers and the attitude toward male modesty is different. The dailystrength post of dr orrange is an indication of the later. I have been making mental notes of the former just for kicks. Today I went to a regional clinic attached to a major hospital for vaccinations for over seas travel. The three intake staff were all female, as I filled out the forms and waited I counted 6 providers nurses and Dr.'s, all female. My RN was female....all told I had contact or saw 10 staff....all female. The waiting room had several magazines. Multiples of a pregnancy magazine (including a spanish version), good house keeping, allure, a bunch of kid magazines and work books, and a single tennis magazine...in the exam room. Good House Keeping and women's health. Sometimes it isn't even what we say or do. Sometimes its the subtle things that give the impression this isn't your world...and sometimes its those things that may effect behavior including males not using medical care.....next time you are in a facility just take note....and I am going to just drop a little note to the administration of this hospital, it may or may not even hit the area of concern...but it will take little time and one thing for sure....if I do nothing...I know for sure nothing will happen from my observation.....alan

Joel Sherman said...

Alan,
I find you inspirational. This clinic has probably never even given a thought to the fact that everything they do is addressed to women and men are excluded, even to the extent of magazines in the waiting room. You'd think they could at least breakdown and get a subscription to Sports Illustrated or something similar. If they do this on purpose, they should really advertise as a women's clinic.
If there are multiple physicians or 'physician extenders' on their staff, it would certainly also be very reasonable to suggest that one or more be male.
Let us know how they respond.

Anonymous said...

In the UK it was recently reported that the majority of doctors qualifying are now female. The trend is for that majority to increase. There are no plans to address this obvious sexual discrimination. While things were the other way (more male doctors than female) we constantly heard cries of discrimination against women. Now things have developed in favour of women, we hear nothing but silence. Double standards, hypocrisy and malice I think sum things up.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sherman, there is no way I would have even thought about challenging these things if not for you and Dr Bernstein's blogs. I am a little disappointed that we are not having more success in getting an organized group together to garner more clout. I am not about to give up, but we (Jimmy, leemac, etc) have taken a couple shots at getting it rolling with little success...but we have to keep trying. Until then I think we each need to keep doing what we can individually....thanks for the encouragement and efforts you have given in this important intative

MER said...

I don't know for sure where this post should go, Joel, but I'll put it here.

PT wrote in Dr. Bernstein's blog: " I assure you if you asked every nurse or physician in every hospital of
this country if they could recite
one phrase or one statement of that
facilities core values,they would be dumbfounded."

I agree with you. That's why we, as patients, need to go into the hospital culture armed with the knowledge of these specific core values attached to each specific hospital. If confronted with modesty problems, we then need to do ask them if what they are doing fits in with the core values of the institution. See if they know the core values. If they don't remind them. Keep in mind that it's easy to put words like "respect" and "dignity" into philosophical statements. Rarely do we try to define those words in the contexts of what we're talking about. We often just assume that everybody knows what they mean. It's not as easy as that. I've found articles out of UK trying to define these terms in medical contexts. I haven't found them in the US.

Just because doctors and/or nurses may not know know these core values, doesn't mean they don't exist, or that patients should not know them. We all have ideals. We all often don't meet our ideals. The fact that doctors and nurses are busy is a reason but not an excuse.

But remember, none of us likes being reminded that we don't live up to our ideals. So when we confront them with this, don't always expect a pleasant experience. At best, if they're decent people, you'll embarrass them. At worst, you make them angry.

Patients need to go into these encounters with their eyes wide open, knowing the potential responses and being prepared to meet them.

Joel Sherman said...

I'll copy this post to the 'your medical privacy rights thread' and eventually delete it here. Please respond to it there.
Thanks MER.

MER said...

Alice writes on Dr. Bernstein's blog: "...modesty isn't practiced as it once was in the English-speaking countries. It has been portrayed as a now useless vestige of Victorian days."

I would agree that this is how the media often portrays modesty, especially male modesty. But I reject that as to the reality of how many people really feel about this. As I've pointed out, we see ourselves in our society as having transcended the prudery of the Victorian Age. This is a myth. But the media feeds us this image and we accept it. It's just a different kind of prudery we have adopted. Because there's so much pornography in our culture, we often think we're free of sexual inhibitions. We're not. Pornography is fantasy, not reality.

I would also say that there is a double vision of modesty in medicine. From the provider's point of view -- how the patient should view his or her modesty. From the provider's point of view -- how they, the provider, as a patient in reality views their personal modesty concerns. I don't believe that the general population of providers is no different regarding medical modesty as are the general population in general. I don't think medical professionals have transcended this concern any more that non medical people have.

Let me give you an example of media fantasy from an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. A man is accused of rape. He claims the woman consented. It's a he said she said situation. Both agree to an examination by a medical examiner.
Of course, the medical examiner is a woman. The female alleged victim is modestly gowned. When they show the male being examined, he walks out of a room completely naked and stands in front of the medical examiner. He appears to be not phased by this whole process -- he's not embarrassed. He seems not to care. This is how the media portrays male "modesty." If a male is shown to be truly modest in the media, he is shown to be a fool or buffoon. By the way, the episode ends with a question as to what really happened between the man and the woman.

You also write: "Also, I get the impression that some medical practitioners view the patient's desire for modesty as impractical."

I applaud your use of the word "impractical." I haven't seen that word used in the context of what we're talking about in this blog. I find it an excellent description of what's happening so much of the time. Another good word is "inefficient," with the definition of efficiency translating into money.

Joel Sherman said...

Not sure I fully agree with your example MER, Hollywood's portrayal of medicine is all fantasy. I watched the first episode of 'Nurse Jackie' and thought it was absurd and demeaning of all involved, especially nurse Jackie.
But I think there is a strong tendency in Hollywood to portray men as buffoons whether they're clothed or naked. Modest males aren't respected, but neither are naked guys. It's the Animal House syndrome. There are of course exceptions, but women are only portrayed like that a fraction of the time that men are.
I avoid movies like that which are usually oriented towards teens, but it's equally apparent in TV commercials.

ryan mathews said...

Males with modesty are basically not represented in Hollywood or the media, and when they are they're shown as effeminate, hiding a small endowment or otherwise abnormal. Much in the same way men who stand up for bodily privacy on the internet (and in locker rooms, dorms, barracks, hospitals...) are ridiculed.

Joel Sherman said...

Ryan, I agree with you except that I don't see or hear much about modest guys being teased in school locker rooms anymore. I think being modest in school is the norm nowadays.
In my Y there's a generational gap. Older guys walk around nude all the time whereas many younger guys, 20's mostly, go through all kinds of contortions to never be exposed in this all male environment. If I had done that at school, I surely would have been teased mercilessly. No one teases these guys. Of course we're all adults.

Anonymous said...

I thought this is relevant too:
http://mypricelesslife.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/shameless-men/

Joel Sherman said...

That article refers to a woman's disgust at seeing men urinate in public.
Drunken men are certainly the reason for much of it. But I'd point out that it's also a cultural behavior. I remember well when I was in Paris as a youth seeing men urinate at urinals which were on the side of buildings on public streets. No one paid any attention. I hear that these open urinals still exist in places but I haven't seen any recently. American bathrooms generally offer much greater privacy than in other countries for both men and women.

Anonymous said...

Men urinating in public will most likely get them arrested on charges of being lewd.. and quite possibly get some sex offender status tacked to them in the US a lot of times...
I don't know about other countries.. but folks I know in Canada don't seem to go for it either... it can be hard enough in a mens room.. but in ful view of the public my bladder would probably explode before it allowed for the discharge of urine... giving a urine sample in a doctors office (mine has two rest rooms for the purpose) is bad enough.. there is this rotating device that passes the sample throughto a lab tech on the other side.. and the lab is staffed only by females..
leemac

Anonymous said...

"there is this rotating device that passes the sample throughto a lab tech on the other side.. and the lab is staffed only by females.."


Do you mean that females from the other side can see you in there leemac? I hope that isn't what you meant.

Anonymous said...

They could only see you if the door on the passthrough is not closed... the wall is paper thin though.... and the lady speaking from her side reminding you to put the sample there is a bit un-nerving.
When I went to school showering after PE was mandatory. There were also the naked weigh ins... although he did not make it real obvious the teacher did check guys to see if there were any obvious problems down there. The female office staff thought nothing of walking right in if they wanted something or were bringing or collecting paperwork.
The teacher (he was also a coach) knew several of us were on the modest side.. made it a point of havingonly those of us who were modest in the locker room one day.. the others were having to clean up around the gymn.. we were to clean in the locker room... He took a shower.. when he came out his sole comment was.. there was no point in our embarrassed.. I guess that would be big trouble now... I never did tell him it was mainly because of the constant female incursions that most of us felt that way.
leemac

Joel Sherman said...

Questions Leemac:
What era was this?
Weigh ins for wrestling? This happen in high school or college?
The office staff walked in while you guys were nude? Didn't anyone ever complain?

Yes I don't think any coach would dare strip down in front of students nowadays, especially on a high school level.

Anonymous said...

This was in the late 1960's and was in PE class. We did not have doctors or nurses come do physicals on all students.. the ones in sports went to a doctor or their choice (but remember this was a small town. This was high school, we also saw the PE techers naked at the swimming pool... No one was allowed in the pool without showering first. It was the town pool.
As to objecting to the walkthroughs, I am not sure how to explain...but complaining about it would have brought ridicule and reprisals.. we just learned to grab towels.. I learned to speed dress as my assigned bench was the one they had to walk by going and coming... Like I said..the teacher did not see any reason we should feel embarrassed and that is why we were the ones there when he showered (just those of us he had dectected as having some embarrassment)He was really a pretty nice guy all in all.
The inspection (weigh in was done periodicaly) was also done to check for std's.. you need to know this was a small community and many could not afford a doctor...and so VD was a bane...
with all of this Never did the teacher ever touch or make inappropriate comments.
Today something like this would land the teacher in jail.. even though he was not doing it out of perversity... The only thing he allowed that I feel was wrong, was letting the female staff walk through..this also included the girls female PE teacher I hid in the shower several times when I could not make it to my towel or pants..but that had its own danger..some of the older guys would shove ya out..if they figured why you were taking so long.
leemac

Joel Sherman said...

Leemac, it's amazing how much variation there was in how kids were treated. I went to school in a large Midwestern city in the late 50's. In high school we swam nude in the pool, but the phys ed teachers were never nude in front of us. But a woman passing through the guy’s locker room was unheard of. It would have caused havoc. What possible reason did they have for doing that in your school?
Another difference is that the schools took no responsibility for our health though I don't know what was required for sports teams. But they didn't even care if we were vaccinated let alone if you had VD. If you needed a doctor you saw your own. Don't remember nurses present in grammar school either. My wife was a 'first aide girl' when she was in grammar school. She took care of cuts and bruises. Can you imagine giving that responsibility to a 10 year old nowadays?

Anonymous said...

You need to remeber.. many inmy community were pretty poor... The PE teacher looked after kids whose folks didn't or couldn't... he was there for more than just the sports teams members.. aside from wanting to keep std's down he was quick to spot any ailment.. we had school nurses till high school..but not in high school. I do not think that anyone , including those of us who were shyer or more modest, could think he was doing anything wrong.. this was a tough rural area... he did not want anyone to get a wimpy reputation nor did he want to se anyone carrying or passing anything on.. several times either he or one of teh welathier folks in teh community he went to.. paid for doctors visits or meds.
The school secretaries and others waltzing through... I will never really understand.. they didn't stare, but the girls female PE teacher always looke strait at the guys.... even the girls disliked her... I guess it is because PE was also the health class such as it was
As to vaccinations...if you didn't have the ones you needed the county nurse showed up and you got whatever you needed... my folks kept us kids up to date...but other parents didn't....
leemac

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks leemac. Just to be clear, what your phys ed teacher did, showering nude with you guys, would likely get him fired today. But I agree, it was no big deal in those days. No one thought about pedophiles. We grew up in a culture where all male nudity was completely acceptable and age differences didn't matter in locker rooms. I'm sure the teacher was a great guy.
Times change, not always for the better.

Anonymous said...

No, not all change is for the better..
As much as there was a lot of good and you trusted easier and more, those same things could also make some things harder..
I was always a bit shy. I was in the hospital a couple of times when I was real little.. my doctor had been a doctor in WWI and he was great in my book.. he had his clinic with a small hospital in the basement.. it was better than the county hospital..the doctor lived behind the clinic and kept a real close eye on anyone he put in teh hospital.. all of the nurses were from families that were local.. everyone knew almost everyone else and had a lot of interaction outside of the hospital.. like a lot of small communities most felt ties to each other that is rare today. My doctor had other doctors in his practice.. he no longer performed surgeries..so because I kept getting strep throat he decided I needed my tonsils taken out.
When the time came and they put me on the operating table everything seemed ok to me.. the straps kinda bothered me, but I knew all the people there..had known them all my life..so I felt ok.. they put a wet cloth over my eyes.. and tehn a nurse reached under the blanket and pulled my underwear down.. she said not to worry she would not look..at that moment the ether was turned on..(I am glad they do not use that stuff anymore..besides stinking bad..the flashing lights going off in my head were not pleasant.) The next thing I remember was waking up in my room. I only opened myeyes a slit (was really nauseated)I was naked a jay bird and two nurses were over me. One I had known all of my life and my dad had gone to school with her and I was going to school with her kids. The other one made a comment that she wondered if I was going be like my dad. (He had had surgery for ulcers there 6 monthes before)She was staring right at my privates whenshe said it.. I was 11 years old and knew exactly what she meant. I pretented to still be asleep.. but I can not tell you how I felt..embarrassed does not come close. They put a gown over me and pulled the sheet up and left..every bit of trust..everything I had felt before went right out the window..betrayal is even a mild term... Until last year I never spoke of it to anyone..not once in over 40 years..but I never forgot..and the feelings of embarrassment and panic around female medical providers still is as it was back then. I learned that. the offending nurse had been discharged about that time as she made too many inappropriate comments to many patients and co-workers.I understand that most of what I went thtrough was for a valid reason..they had not told me anything knowing it would embarrass a kid.. Still.. I feel real panic around female providers.
I dodged going to a doctor as much as I as possible for the last 40 years. just so I would not find myself cringing... now I find.. I can not avoid going anymore...but this is why I will not allow a female provider around intimate anything.. silly ..probably, but..strong feelings overrule all else.. and even the possibility I will get a male who is not as good as some female is not going to change my feelings or my mind. One other thing happened.. I felt a great distance open between myself and a lot of people I had know all of my life.. folks whose kids I avoided where before we had been playmates.. never assume someone is still out from anesthesia.. you never know what they will hear...
leemac

Joel Sherman said...

leemac, the nurses comment is a little hard to interpret as an isolated statement, but if she was discharged soon after, you must have been right on target. Not very many nurses get disciplined for improper misconduct.
In my experience it's uncommon behavior, but I'm sure PT would say otherwise.
Of course I know nurses (or anyone else) wouldn't be likely to misbehave if a doctor was in the room or the doctor was a patient. So it's hard for me to know how common such violations really are.

Anonymous said...

Although I had known that I really never saw her at the clinic again, I did not learn of the circu,stances of her discharge until a year or so ago. I talked with the anesthesiologist (someone else I had known all of my life). He brought up how rough my surgry had been.. and how the nurses had had to clean me up a lot.. and that I was not told befor or after because they didn't tell kids what all surgery prep or post op were like because they did not think it was worth embarrassing the kids. When I told him about the one nurse, he told me that there had been several complaints by other nurses about the way she treated naked males who were unconcious and the comments she made.... the owner of the clinic/hospital found out and fired her.. other patients (adults) had also complained about her actions and suggestions...
I do not think that she represents the major portion of nurses... The thing is...(I know it may be hard to understand)it was something that left me where I really get uncomfortable just having one take my blood pressure... it is silly I know to be so sensitive, but the feelings are there... I had to work hard to make myself go to a doctor this last year.. I did it because I knew I needed to... I even "gutted out" a testicular ultrasound administered by a female.. I needed it and I thought if I got through it.. it would be like if you fall off of a horse and get back on.. it didnt work that way... I nade it through it.< but I was sweating like crazy and it ws all I could do tojust walk out teh door when it was over, when I wanted to run... Again I know not all nurses are like that, but the embarrassment is just not worth anything they could do for me.
I just do not want a female nurse at any time for any reason.. I do not hate them.... but I do hate the embarrassment and the panic.. I am not trying to tar and feather all female nurses as being cretans... but nice or not, competent or not, "professional" or not... I do not want to go through the feelings I get if I think anything intimate in nature is going to be involved. I gut it out for the blood pressure etc. routine. My purpose in posting why I feel this way.. is in hope that should someone read it that they will remember... it may be wrong to make of color remarks about a patient, but it can have a lot worse effects if the patient overhears.
I have not had much to do with nurses for so many years that I can not compare experiences with PT. Whether this is beause I dodged even doctor visits as much as I could and really was lucky to not have to go much or if I would never have had a bad experience again, I can not say... The female ultrasound tech did not do anything wrong... but it did not make me feel comfortable..
I am sure my experience is not one that happens to everyone.. but it has happened in one form or another to others as by the postings here and on Dr.B's blog.. The thing is...it sure left a mark on me...
leemac

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunately a sign of the
times,misconduct ailing health
professionals. Read hear at www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf
Even more disturbing was that
Gov. Schwarzenegger fired most of
the Calif state nursing board,citing the unacceptable time it takes to disipline nurses accused of egregious misconduct.
Read here at www.latimes.com/news
Schwarzenegger sweeps nursing board. Very disturbing. This is a
wake up call to every other state
nursing board.


PT

Anonymous said...

Leemac
Its unfortunate for what you
endured regarding your surgery and
the nurse that was discharged for her behavior. She had an obligation
to you as your advocate. She failed
her obligation to you and herself
as well as the institution she
represented. She let her coworkers down and brought shame upon herself. Yet you endured,changed
but nonetheless a better person.


PT

ryan mathews said...

leemac - these things from our formative years most certainly do leave a mark. I was thinking when you were talking about feeling uncomfortable giving the urine sample inside the paper thin walls and then seeing the female lab techs handle your sample. I have a similar modesty to this day around urinating or even worse defecating in the close proximity of females. Even a female hearing me in the act, or me hearing them talking will shut off the valve/chute. I am very particular to this day about sharing a bathroom with my girlfriend. My time is my time in there and she knows not to come near.
I believe this stems from several embarrassing experiences growing up. A grandmother that was overbearing to the point of barging into the bathroom when we took too long on the throne. A grade school teacher who took it upon herself to monitor the boys bathroom for cleanliness. Females who may be well meaning at the time but end up marking some boys for life in this area.
I have discussed said issue with male friends and some can relate to a degree, but many others cannot. Many males it seems feel just as uneasy relieving themselves in view/earshot of other males. I do not. I have a completely neutral feeling of modesty around my own gender. For some reason there is that distinction for me and I think it was formed early on.
While I get what you mean about feeling silly for refusing a female caregiver - don't. We are just who we are and shouldn't feel ashamed of our valid preference.

Joel Sherman said...

There's one point in your post worth emphasizing leemac. The nurse who traumatized you had many complaints against her, not only from patients but from other nurses as well.
That should be comforting to you and I believe makes the point that most nurses and providers can be trusted.
Unfortunately that fact doesn't undo the damage she caused.

Anonymous said...

When I ws told (40+years later) what had become of her, it did make me feel much better towards the other nurses. The guy who told me (the anesthesiologist) was the last left alive (except maybe the one who got fired..no one knew or cared it sees what became of her..
I had had many different converstions with him over the years..in the hospital when I was visiting family and friends.. yet it was just recently that I went back and asked him.. He was a bit ticked off.. because I had not said a word in all these years.
leemac

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to factor in the crowd mentality,which I've seen
once too many times. More often than not those in a crowd are quick
to rat out the perp rather than
pull that person aside and say,
"look that was inappropriate"!

PT

Anonymous said...

Given that the doctor who owned the clinic was very particular about patients to hi sclinic, it is likely that the complaints must have been over a very short period of time.. He had his own hospital in it because he did not like the county facility and he could also check often on very ill patients.
When I had rheumatic fever I spent a lot of time in it..that was a few years before surgery.. about the only thing I remeber about the nurses then.. was how kind they were to me.. but I felt way too bad and was too young to have any idea about anything else.
It is not so much a matter of trust anymore...I do not conciously have to think about the past.. I still go on autopilot around female providers and am real uncomfortable.. this does not carry out into th erest of my life anymore.. it did for a few years.
My first and only complete physical that I can remember after teh surgery was by another much older male doctor in a town quite a few miles away (the doctor I had gone to retired).. He gave teh first hernia and DRE that I can remember..and the next one was last year.. I was so gratefull to that Doc..he waved his nurse out when he told me to take my clothes off and kept her out for the duration.. I was 16.. I think that he understood without my saying anything...
I do not know what my feelings would have been on teh issue of modesty (probably would still prefer same gender in intimate situations), but I doubt if it would be such a major issue with me. Even if you trust their medical expertise, you do no treally trust if you are embarrassed by their presence..
leemac

Anonymous said...

I also posted this on Dr Bernstein's site.
Although it is indirect in its relationship to this threads' subject, it does impact on teh basis for theneed to develop a relationship of trust with a provider.
A study showed that patients who developed a trusting relationship with their doctor could recieve a placebo pain killer and yet their brain released endorphins. This came about when a doctor spent time with the ptients and a trust was developed, but there were no endorphins relased when such a relationship did not exist.
I contend that modesty (embarrassment especially) has to be a consideration.. If you are embarrassed, your trust is not going to be great..and you are usually only trying to get away from the source.. This is true even if you know your doctor is doing great by you in all other areas of treatment.
leemac

Anonymous said...

anyone else think the posting of the hidden-cam nude video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews might have been done by someone angry over her being in the locker room?

Perhaps an athlete or an athlete's wife set it up to degrade her the same way the male athletes feel degraded when they're nude and Erin sticks a microphone in their face.
Personally I think female sports reporters assigned to mens sports are ridiculous and I don't have much sympathy.

Joel Sherman said...

Well I personally doubt that it was done as a protest. Probably it was done by someone trying to make money off illicit pictures.
We'll never know unless the guy is caught.
I agree that having women in men's locker rooms is a violation of their privacy, but I don't think that's the way to remedy the situation. It's up to the athletes to protest, but it has been this way for about 30 years and it's not likely to change. They seem to have mostly accepted the situation.

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves me I believe
she made the comment " I'm just one
of the guys" to which whomever planted the camera can say "we're just one of the girls"!

PT

Anonymous said...

Joel - I disagree with your entire post. How could money have been the motive when the video can be downloaded free and any person caught trying to sell it faces prison time? Notice I said "person" and not "guy" like you did. I just don't always automatically assume it has to be a male "peeper" when an incident like this occurs.
Wives of players are infuriated by female reporters in the locker rooms. Especially by ones like Erin who just last summer raised eyebrows by 'flitting' around in a mini skirt in the locker room and touching guys in an over-friendly way. Google it.
It isn't a matter that the athletes, their spouses, coaches have come to accept. I've read plenty of recent complaints.

Misty said...

A man who had an ultrasound submitted a successful modesty case to the bottom of http://patientmodesty.org/rights.aspx.
You can find his story below. I am very glad he stood up and got his wish for an male ultrasound tech. I hope that this will encourage men who want only males to do intimate procedures on them to stand up.

Details of Successful Case: I needed an ultrasound on my private area so my regular doctor sent me to a local Radiology clinic and I was surprised to have a female ultrasound tech come in after I undressed and was only covered from the waist down by a piece of paper. She announced she would be conducting the exam and to lay down, pull my shirt up and remove the piece of paper. I was flabbergasted. I asked if a male tech could do the exam and she said only women worked in that clinic. I politely asked her to leave the room and after a short argument she left and I got dressed. As I left I saw her standing by the receptionist and another woman at the front desk and when one of them called me by name I reluctantly went back to talk to them. She asked me what was wrong and I asked her "what do you think?" As usual they all acted surprised when I told them I'm not comfortable with a woman doing something like that to me. The third woman (supervisor?) told me that a male comes in from some other clinic and I could come in and he could give me the exam. I finally agreed and a week and a half later I went in and a young male technologist gave me the exam. He also seemed shocked that I didn't want a woman to do it and I got some mean stares from several of the women there. I will certainly never go back to that unethical clinic again but at least I got an ultrasound out of the way (negative) without compromising my morals. How can they not understand how many of us feel? I think they know perfectly well what the problem is but try to make us feel like we are crazy for thinking that way so they can have their way with us. Pretty disgusting.

Location of Successful Case: Western U.S.

Anonymous said...

All outpatient radiology centers
essentially encompass ultrasound,
general x-ray,cat scan,MRI and
nuclear medicine. As an outpatient
you should be given a card which asks you to rate the service.
Additionally,you may recieve a phone call asking you to rate the
service. Behavior as such should
be immediately reported and if you
are not given a survey after the procedure then ask for one. Don't give it back to them as it most likely would end up in file 13,
instead mail it to the administrators of the facility.

PT

MER said...

Here's another very effective way to handle cases like the radiology one described recently. After the experience, write a letter to your primary care doctor, the one who sent you to that radiology clinic. Copy that letter to the CEO and other board members of the hospital or clinic your doctor works at. Tell them that, at the very least, they have an obligation to tell their male patients that they will not have a choice of gender at that particular clinic. If they do request it they will either be laughed at or told to reschedule their appointment. Describe the unprofessional looks you got from the female staff as you left. Recommend, indeed, that they don't send their patients to that clinic because of poor customer service and lack of dignity in treatment.
Oh -- also send a copy of this letter to the radiology clinic. Sometimes it takes letters like this to wake up people. I assure you, you'll get a response when a letter like that goes to several people. They can't ignore it.

Misty said...

One man submitted a case where he felt his wishes were violated. He was deceived. Please see the information below. His story can also be found at the bottom of http://www.patientmodesty.org/Case.aspx?GID=2.

I asked prior to my surgery about a genital prep necessary for my case. The medical director and anesthesiologist told me my male surgeon would do "it" in the OR suite. I found out afterwards from my surgeon I was lied to and the normal policy and procedure was for the female circulating nurse does the shaving with an electric razor and picks up the hair with masking tape, then does the scrub for several minutes and then cleanses and dries the area and then drapes the patient. The prep not only includes the surgical site but the entire abdominal area and your penis and scrotal area. I was more than extremely angry as was my spouse. If I had been told the truth I would have cancelled the surgery altogether as it was elective. It is unbelievable that these people get away with this behavior and as a patient there is nothing one can do about it.

Anonymous said...

I came across "ice road truckers" on tv this afternoon. Not a regular viewer of the show, but truckers were being urine tested. One at a time the men were handed a specimen cup and told to go into a stall, by a female who was holding a clipboard. Appeared to be only one stall in this small restroom. Meanwhile the woman stayed inside the restroom, apparently waiting to collect the cup of urine. Does anyone know, is this standard procedure?

Joel Sherman said...

Anonymous, there's no standard procedure. For routine job screenings, the sample will likely not be witnessed. In prisons or similar legal situations, the guy may need to be completely exposed. But except in prisons, no one can demand that you be exposed to opposite gender.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I came across this article which is discussion of male and female sexuality issues in the context of cancer treatment. Whilst it is reasonably long its worth reading I think in terms of the different attitudes in relation to the male and his privacy issues as compared to the female. Whilst this article was from 2000 I would be surprised if the attitudes are different now. EG. When a female doctor raises the issue of male concern in talking to a female the urologist seems to down play the issue with the comment about "it being patient bias and likely to change over the next 10 or 20 years".
Whereas for women, talking to a male doctor about their issues is raised and supported as a valued opinion and concern.
I also note the diferent approach to involving the patients partner in the discussion between the male patient and the feamle patient. Involve the female partner of the male partner because this is good for them to understand that the importance is the survival of the treatment, not sexaual capacity; but when it comes to the involvement of the male in the females discussion, the response is much more nuanced. Why the difference?
This is the link:
http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/cgi/content/full/5/4/336

Chris

Joel Sherman said...

Interesting article Chris. I've read only about the man with prostate cancer so far. Two items struck me. The first is that the urologist stated that when he first started practice, he was embarrassed to ask his patients about their sexual function. Why pick urology then? That's like a surgeon saying that he can't stomach the sight of blood. Amazing that physicians can be so ill at ease with sexual matters.
The second point is that the same physician thinks that gender preference is bias and that men will take some years to adjust to female physicians for intimate care. He has no clue as to how men and patients in general feel embarrassed about intimate care. That's amazing for a specialty that does mostly intimate care. I think this surgeon should have picked another specialty.

Anonymous said...

I agree with both of the things that stuck out at you in the article Chris found, Dr. Sherman.
I would add two more things.. one that guys will continue to call lady doctors lady doctors for a looong time. The other was the comment by the female doctor that she had noticed that some males were reluctant totalk to a female physician about some things.... they all just left it there.. no thoughts as to why or how to handle those times... I really thought a lot of attention was given to female modesty and males were viewed as having none.. or the ones they had were not worth discussing. I also noticed a lot was made about having a wife present to "help" the doctor get a response the doctor wanted.... but a mle might actually be an abuser (like there are no males subject to spousal abuse????) A very unbalanced and scewed view is all I got from the conclusions of these doctors...
leemac

Anonymous said...

"If my memory serves me I believe
she made the comment " I'm just one
of the guys"."

Yeah Erin, except YOU'RE NOT NAKED! I'll bet her nudity and modesty is considered sacred.

Anonymous said...

"Appeared to be only one stall in this small restroom. Meanwhile the woman stayed inside the restroom, apparently waiting to collect the cup of urine."

Did they at least have the stall for their privacy? Did they go in and shut the stall door behind them while she stayed outside the stall?

Even that is ridiculous but at least it would be some privacy. I guarentee you I couldn't "go" even if she was on the other side of the shut door listening. She would have a heck of a fight on her hands if she tried that with me.

Anonymous said...

In 1980 I was working at a large
county hospital in the midwest
and one night went to check on a patient in one of the intensive
care units. I had never been to
that unit before and had to use the restroom in the unit.
As I recall there were primarily
female nurses on the unit.Entering the restroom I noticed every square inch of that room was
covered with nude male layouts from
playgirl magazine. I seriously doubt those female nurses left their gender at the door. I've
read where a female clerk at an
automotive shop walked through one day and sued for sexual harrassment
due to small nude pictures of women
on the toolboxes belonging to some
of the mechanics. Apparently she was offended. I was offended too
when female clerks stood and watched me get a nude physical in
the military, apparently they weren't offended.
I've brought this story up before and regretfully should have
said something to the HR department
at that hospital. Funny how your attitude changes once you wake up and see the light.

PT

Joel Sherman said...

I have moved this post from the mass media thread:

Dr. Sherman,

The one particular woman I mentioned is an NP who works in a clinic that is contracted to give employment physicals and insurance company physicals. She knows that men are afraid to object to anything because they're afraid they'll lose their job or insurance coverage, and she takes advantage of that. To make things even worse she had a teenage receptionist that started working there while still in high school. She always takes her receptionist in to "assist" with those physicals and the men are too afraid to object. The receptionists only "duties" are to take notes if necessary, squeeze lubricant onto her finger for the DRE and hold the men's buttcheeks open during the DRE. Isn't that unbelievable? Her response to the objections she often gets from the men is that the receptionists presence is necessary to assist.

Dr. Sherman, do you know anyone that needs an assistant to hold buttcheeks open for a DRE? Could it possibly be anything more than voyeurism and power trips? Talk about being ambushed. Do you think any man would ever anticipate that a female high school student receptionist with no medical education and little or no training would be holding his buttcheeks open? What a nightmare.

There have been several other nurses that read her posts and commented that they have been involved with similar experiences.

GL


GL, I know of no physician who uses an assistant to perform a rectal exam on a man. I can't think of any medical reason to use them. Of course some providers may use them as chaperones and may have them do something to make their presence more acceptable to the patient. I would certainly refuse an 'assistant's' presence.
I of course have no idea if what you're reading is a real account. Much of what is on the web is fiction or fetish. But it is certainly helpful to dispel some of these stories as fiction, or if real as inappropriate.

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