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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Male Modesty Violations Part 2

Part One will not accept further posts. Please continue posting here.
A summary of this topic can be found on the companion blog.
Information on how to protest these violations can be found here.

162 comments:

Joel Sherman said...

Copied from the women's thread:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Women's Privacy & Modesty Concerns":

I'm a male. Back when I was in high school (in America) I never played school sports because I refused to have my genitals examined by a woman with a female nurse at her side gawking at me (and I love sports).

Misty said...

A pastor posted about several male modesty violation cases on http://www.patientmodesty.org/Case.aspx?GID=2. Look at the bottom of this page to see what this pastor had to say about several modesty violation cases. One was involving a church member at his church who was very unhappy with how female nurses did intimate procedures on him.

MER said...

Misty:
It's about time we get these unsubstantiated anecdotes like the one on that website out of the closet. Patients need to be willing to name names, hospitals, supervisors, etc. Patients also need to make sure they ask for accommodation. If they don't, the hospital can say that they would/may have accommodated if they had been asked. Makes no difference whether they would or could have. They can claim they would have. Also, patients need to make sure they have witnesses to all this, an advocate or family member. Take notes, get names, record the time, the shift -- get it all in writing.
These anonymous anecdotes will add up to little unless we can get them substantiatd. Look at what Art Stump has done with "My Angels Are Come." That hospital can't run from his accusations.
I realize how difficult it is for patients to go public. But that's what it's going to take.
These incidents, like the one by the religious leader, need to be nipped in the bud. We can go public, write letters, etc. -- but nothing trumps the immediate "refusal of gender." Make it clear that this is NOT "refusal of treatment." You want that foley cath if the doctor says you need it. But you want a male nurse to do it. You want that bed bath, but from a male. Nothing trumps immediate chastisement/education/questioning, perhaps challenging the caregiver's assumptions.
This is where it's got to start. Letters and complaints can follow. But until caregivers are faced with day to day challenges to this double standard and entitlement attitude, they wont' really get the message.

Joel Sherman said...

I agree MER.
But please read my updated guidelines for posting under the Welcome section.
Anyone relating personal experiences and naming names must not be anonymous themselves. Like Art Stump you must be willing to also identify yourself.

MER said...

Your rules sound fair. As I said, patients need to be willing to go public, too. If I were to do that, I would make sure I had all my ducks in line -- names, dates, witnesses, good notes, whatever documentation I could get. One should also try to deal with the hospital, but if you get the runaround, then go public and let them know the URL where they can find your complaint.

MER said...

Regarding Misty's story and the URL she gives us. It's about a religious man who suffers thorugh modesty violations: Misty writes:

"The female nurses told this suffering, dying patient, "You don't have anything we've never seen before!" "Don't worry about it, we do this all the time!" and "You'll get over it!" If a male nurse said anything like this to a female patient, he would be suspended, fired, his license revoked, or possibly face a law-suit!"

The difficulty for all of us to perhaps accept, is that these cliche's, these expressions, may not be said with malice. These caregivers may actually believe that what they're saying will make the patient feel better. Why would the believe that? Probably because that's what they've been taught, or observed with their mentors (the hidden curriculum). This belief is then reinforced when the patient doesn't challenge the caregiver immediately or later complain or protest or take some action like writing a letter.

Human pshcyology is fascinating. It's amazing how we can convince ourselves that what we're doing is just fine when it isn't. What we do to protect our own psyches and make work easier for us is very interesting. These expressions are used to end conversation, to prevent a debate, to close the subject. And they most often work.

My points:
-- Patient need to accept that these statements are not necessarily made with the intention of violating dignity or privacy. The caregivers making them often believe they are helping you to "get through" the experience. You must carefully listen to the tone of these statements and look into the caregivers eyes. If these statements are said with sarcasm or ridicule, respond accordingly.
-- When you hear these statements, you need to recognize them for what the are -- attempts to shut down communcation. This is your opportunity to open coversation. Don't let them end the discussion. Challenging these statements and the assumptions behind them. "It's not about me 'getting over it," it's about you recognizing and accepting my values." "It's not about how many times you've done this. I have done this before. It's about how I feel." "How many of whatever you've seen is not the issue. The issue is how I feel about all this."
-- If the caregivers don't accommodate at this point, be prepared for other strategies they may use They usually have a Plan B. This may include new cliches that may become more assertive or intimadating -- "This is how we do things around here." "We have no male nurses or cna's." "So then, you're refusing treatment." "These are the people who are trained to do this." "You're not the only patient I have, so we need to get this done."
"Why do you do things around here like this? What about respecting patient dignity?" They respond: "We do respect patient dignity." You say: "Who gets to define my dignity? You or me?"
If you're in a large hospital -- "You're telling me there's no male nurse or cna in this entire hospital who can do this? I don't believe that?" They say: "Well, we'll have to get him from another floor." You say: "Then get him from another floor."
"So -- if you only train one gender to do this procedure, what does that say about your respect for individual feeling and values? Isn't this gender discrimination?"
"As of right now, this moment, I'm the only patient you have. When you're with me, I'm your only patient."
Go into the hospital expecting the best. Don't go looking for trouble. But be prepared for what could happen. Keep your eyes wide open and your ears alert. Be proactive. And don't be afraid to speak up.

Joel Sherman said...

Your points are well taken MER. Misty's link does relate the incident of a man who wanted same gender care for religious reasons. One has to wonder if he would have been treated differently if he was a Muslim Imam.
But in any event, most men are taken by surprise when events like this happen, unless they have been chronically ill and have been through it before. Most are too embarrassed to even speak up.
Unless blogs like this are made required reading pre-hospitalization, it's likely to stay that way. Men are just expected to deal with the embarrassment. This is less true for women though it affects them too.
This won't change till complaints become common, instead of rare like they are today.

Anonymous said...

There is something that has been bothering me for some time, I have rolled this in my mind numerous times and have my own thoughts on this...but I would like some of yours....one of the things that was brought up as a major violation at Abu Graf was the fact that female gaurds were allowed to view male prisoners naked which was an extreme insult to them due to their muslim religon, yet in this country a judge ruled that a female prison gaurd was allowed to conduct strip searches and watch a male muslim priioner shower and was not violating his rights. The issue of female reporters in professional atheletes locker rooms has been talked about and the fact that the wnba has a different policy for female atheletes has been explained as two different leagues etc...but the same thing holds true in colleges for the same sports. Female reporters are allowed in many college male locker rooms but not reporters are allowed in female locker rooms. While some may attempt to ecplain it due to popularity of of male vs female sports...this holds true for colleges like Tenn where the Women's Basketball team is incredibly successful and extremely popular. There are numerous states that prohibit males guards from pat searching female prisoners but allow female guards to pat and strip search males...while obviously these things differ from medicine I wonder if the issue of male modesty doesn't have some commonality. The question here becomes why do we accept this. There was a female sports writer who wrote an article about going into the USC football teams locker room, something like "Does females sportswriters in the locker room work" to which she decided of course they do. She determined everyone was happy with her being there and it wasn't a problem, besides it was equal treatment yet when I and others pressed her on this and why reporters were not allowed in female locker rooms she agreed they should...but when we pressed why she wasn't using her position to provide equal treatment for atheletes...she went silent. Same with Dr. Orrange. I think part of the challenge for men is women were discriminated against, the double standard cut against them, they had to fight for rights to the point where now, in our society, everyone is afraid to do or say antyhing that might make remoteley come off as sexist, so the pendulem swang so far that women have in these cases become the violator and men/society are so concerned at being politically correct we would rather accept the transgressions than be accused of being sexist......why is transgressions of this nature by females against males not only more accepted...but often legitimized and no one challenges it....can you imagine if the roles were refersed, male reporters in female locker rooms but not the other way around, etc....do you think this has application to medical modesty challenges for men???.....alan

MER said...

Good points, alan. I think you're right on the mark with some of your explanations.
I've tried to make the point that there is a connection between our culture's attitude toward nakedness, nudity -- within prisons, hospitals, locker rooms, etc. The situations are different, but the underlying assumptions are very much alike.
Fact is, men are more violent toward women than women are toward men. Violent, cruel men tend to use physical force. Cruel women on the other hand can be more passive aggressive and use more subtle methods, humiliation, etc. The genders are different psychologically in many ways. So one can argue why men should not be put in powerful position over naked women. But we neglect how cruel some women can be, too, with being physically violent -- but through psychological violence.
But, you're right. Men are afraid to stand up for themselves, risking appearing sexist. In an earlier post I quoted a psychologist about the number of "mamma boys" around today -- afraid to displease women in any way.
Prison guards, especially, are in danger of really giving in to their power. They're uniformed and play a distinct role. A female prison guard in power over men faces using that power to especially humiliate the men if she wants to. She can hide behind that humiliation because the system supports her. You need to read the book I've quoted "The Lucifer Effect." It explains much of this.
What's so insidious about the Muslim prisoners in Iraq and Gitmo, is that their religion was used as a weapon against them. Our guards were instructed from on high that these men were especially humiliated by appearing naked in front of women. So that technique was purposefully, specifically used against them. It's about power and control and humiliation and nakedness, embarrassment, etc.
The same is true in any prison to some degree -- especially when the right of women work trumps the dignity of male prisoners. Same can be true in clinics or hospitals. Same principle. There's always that danger when people must come naked. Caregivers can't take nakedness for granted. They can't ignore how it has been used throughout history to demean and humiliate and destroy human spirits and individuality.
It's all connected. I can't articulate clearly how, but at root all these cases come down to basic, fundamental values and attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Whats even more disturbing about all of this Allan was a quip in the
paper on Fiday indicating that
sexual assaults against prisoners
by guards has increased over 150%.
The Justice Department states that more female guards sexually
assault more male prisoners than males guards assault female prisoners. The results are even more disturbing.


PT

Joel Sherman said...

Alan, your comments underline an early and persistent theme of mine, that in the US the courts have routinely placed equal employment rights above privacy rights.
Prisons and locker rooms are quite different however. Prisoners have reduced privacy rights so more intrusions are valid, but it goes way too far IMO. Federal studies have shown that there is more sex between female prison guards and male inmates than vice versa. The just released federal study states that violations by women guards are increasing. The usual assumption that sex between male guards and women is always tantamount to rape is nonsense, but it is hard to know what percentage of these encounters is truly forced. Although violations by male guards often get prison sentences, violations by female guards are starting to get prison sentences as well in many states. Of note is that the US is the only Western country that routinely permits male guards in female prisons (which is against UN rules) so that laws do work both ways. I would be in favor of using same gender guards in prisons in all capacities that involve exposed prisoners. But it's not going to happen in this country.
Courts have held that male and female reporters have to be given equal access to athletes. They have NOT held that any reporters have to be admitted to locker rooms. Thus the leagues could end the practice tomorrow if they wanted, but they are more concerned with publicity and profits. They could do what the WNBA does, which is give all reporters access for a certain time period and then kick them out to let the guys shower and change. Some sports such as tennis allow no one in the locker rooms and they do fine. An article in Sports Illustrated (October 15, 1990) claimed that 48% of athletes did not want the women reporters there. Attitudes may have changed by now. My guess is that if WNBA players received the millions that men get, they too might be more willing to sacrifice their privacy.
But lets be honest. There is a difference between nude exposure of men and women. Nude pictures of Erin Andrews cause a sensation. Nude photos of the vast majority of male athletes (such as Joe DiMaggio) would get you a yawn. The women have much more to be concerned about, at least in this country. Men are at much less risk of notoriety and indeed of being pursued by perverts, though it does happen. Almost surely there are many films of nude athletes that have been taken in locker rooms either accidentally or purposely, but they never get released. The same would not happen with women athletes. So while many men are completely blasé about their nudity, few women are. I think that men who do care (a substantial percentage) should be afforded the same consideration as women, but unless more men protest, it's not going to happen easily.

Anonymous said...

Great advice MER. Thanks for the link Misty.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sherman while I agree with much of what you say, I think it goes a little deeper into the reluctance of men to make a issue of what they feel they can not change and the fact that if they protest nothing will happen and they...the victim will become the target of persecution. I listen to a radio station our of chicago,the other day one of the radio hosts made the comment that he knew a female sports reporter who had a personal collection of photo's of atheletes penis's from her visits to the locker room...not one person, the male host or the two female co-hosts made any indication they saw anything wrong or evil with it...yet Erin Andrews who make a living going into male locker rooms while they shower and get dressed.....yet the transgression against her (and I understand the covert action put a different spin on it) becomes such a major story....the issue becomses that society just does not consider the transgressions against males as being as serious. There was a new medical show with Jada Pinket Smith in it, the last episode there was a female teacher who got an STD from a 17 year old male student, the discussion was whether to turn her in or not and the issue of the double standard, if theis was a male teacher and female student.....its a TV show but it is so true. Female students and male teacher get more serious sentences than the other way around...equal rights have not been extended to the down side of equal....one would think equal would be blind to the gender of the perps and victims but it isn't....and once again, we go to the extremes to justify...rape. assult, etc to justify the normal everyday.....again it transfers to the medical community, justify the everyday with the extreme...ER, life threatening etc.....the double standard...the wrong seems so obvious...yet no on says anything.........alan

Joel Sherman said...

I agree with your comments too, Alan. But maybe it would help to give it some historical perspective. 30-40 years ago, sex crimes were just beginning to be recognized. Before then, it was rare for any male to be prosecuted for a sex crime. My mother told stories from the 30's from her social work experience. She had women who would justify their husbands’ incest with their young daughters saying it was 'his right.' Up to about 10-15 years ago, it wasn't even recognized that women could commit a sex crime. Even rape of a pre-teen boy was considered doing the kid a favor. So society’s views are changing rapidly, maybe even going overboard. But the point is that male and female sex crimes are beginning to be looked at much more equivalently and many more women are going to jail and being classified as sex offenders. The situation is slowly equalizing. These blogs and people like you help speed the process.

Don't know what kind of radio show you were listening to. There's so much trash radio and TV on the air that you can hear anything 24/7. These shows thrive on salacious stories like that. Some shows couldn't exist without them. But I'll bet the women reporter wasn't identified by name. If she was it's likely she'd lose her credentials. If they gave any details such as what locker rooms she went into, I'd certainly report it to the club, but I'll bet no identifying details were given. You of course can complain to the radio show, but if it was the equivalent of Jerry Springer, it's a waste of time because that's what they do. Complaining to the radio station may have slightly more effect.

Anonymous said...

I just checked on the progress of HR 2115:Men and Families Health Care Act of 2009. It addresses the fact that under the Dept of Health and Education there is an office of Women and Families Health, but no such office for men. The bill notes among other things men lead in 9 out of the top 10 causes of death, 1 in 2 men vs 1 in 3 women will be diagnsed with cancer, the life expectancy gap between men and women has increased from 1 year in 1920 to 5.2. in 2005. Similar bills have been introduced in the 106th, 7th, 8th, twice in the 109th, and 110th. How can this bill which is so obviously appropriate be denied time after time. Go to govtrack.us and look at the bills in th House Energy and Commerce where this bill is, scroll down and see how many are female oriented vs mens health. I have written my rep and am going to hit him up again. At this time when helath care is getting so much attention for this to exist is ridiculous. The key is the same as the modesty issue, if you don't make your self heard you are part if the problem, the head of the committee is from ca as are many of the members, you folks from CA, we need your help...my state rep is one of the sponsors, ....not only will this dept give us a shot at more attention to mens health, it will give us an avenue for this issue........but only if we are heard......alan

Joel Sherman said...

I agree with you fully Alan. I contacted my representative months ago to encourage him to support the bill. Eventually I got positive feedback, but somehow the bill is not high on anyone's agenda. Need to kick up support.

Anonymous said...

http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2005/
05/nurses-secret-weapon.html

This weapon was a steel spoon used by female nurses to srike the erections of young men. Some were
rendered impotent.

Now does anyone wonder why some men simply refuse gross gender care.


PT

Anonymous said...

I read an interesting article about the new degrees and I apologize I can't recall the title, but several colleges now have a 5 year degree for something like a physician's assist...PA where they basically become a NP type provider. Dr's will have 1 or more PA who will do things that a Dr normally would physicals, exams etc. and refer them up to the Dr....sounds reasonable, unless you are uncomfortable with the already skewed gender embalance of nurses...because the PA is basically an RN with an additional year and since 90% of RN's are female...the balance of the 50/50 of Dr's will now also skew toward females as Dr's will provide less care in their office defering to PA's who will be predominantly female....unless we step up and make ourselves heard guys...this only gets worse. I just contacted a local hospital that is known for going into the high schools and recruiting students for future nursing careers.....I offered to donate some cash to expand that into recruiting males into nursing...this hospital advertises a lot on compassionate care, patient relationships.....I am interested to see their response....guys, encourage your sons into at least considering nursing...starting pay in my state 28.50/hr + beneifits of approx $12/hr. An onocology nurse I know works 2-12's on the weekend gets paid for 40 hrs, another just got a $10/hr raise if she promised to stay for 2 years.......GM is dead and gone for future jobs....over 250,000 nursing vacancies by 2012....that isn't a girls job...thats a damn good opportunity for our sons.......alan

Joel Sherman said...

Alan, a PA is not a nurse. In most states it's a completely different program. The training may have a lot in common with becoming a nurse practitioner but the paths and titles are very different.
I have been led to believe that a much higher percentage of PA’s are men than NPs. I have not been able to find hard documentation of this online though. If you called a college that had a PA program they might well tell you their numbers though. If it is true it is precisely because the guys are called PA's. That's their title and they're not saddled with being thought of as a guy in a women's profession.
In my local hospitals there are several PA's in orthopedics for instance and I believe that most or all are men.
I have thought of pursuing this topic further, but have never gotten around to it. Maybe you can dig up some data on the issue
I always thought the option should be pushed more in high schools especially as being an attractive path for men.

Anonymous said...

I will do a little research. I am going to start looking at working with the local hospitals and schools to see if I can put some money up for promotions and or scholarships targeting males into the nrusing, this may be am alternative. As you say, nursing has the hurdle of being seen as womens work....food for thought.....alan

Joel Sherman said...

This was I believe posted by alan:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What Can We Do To Improve Medical Modesty & Privac...":

I understand everyones circumstances differ. I have had a certain amount of success in business that gives me a little leeway with my finances. I recently approached a hopsital that is very proacitve in bringing high school students into the hospitalwith hope of planting the seed for future nurses. I noticed all of the students featured in the local paper were female, I sent the CEO an offer to fund an inative in a reasonable amount to help attract males. I approached in from the perspective of the nurses shortage, 10% of nurses being male etc. I recieved a call from the person incharge of the program and had a nice talk about the benefits of getting males into the profession etc and set an appointment to meet with her and fund a small scholarship jointly with the hosptial for male students entering nursing. Small step, not a lot of money, but a start. I think there are opportunities to bring the issue to the fore front.....not sure if this belongs here or male modesty..I think we need to think outside the box........Dr. Sherman....please place as you see


Thanks for your activism.

Anonymous said...

sorry that was my post I forgot to sign,,,,,,,alan

swf said...

alan:
I think this is an excellant idea. Did the CEO you spoke with give you any inclination of how difficult it might be to offer incentives for one gender?
While we here see the extreme need for additional encouragment, there may be people who want to cause a problem with this. (?)

Joel Sherman said...

MER posted this on Part 1. I have moved it here:

MER has left a new comment on your post "Male Modesty Violations, A Special Case?":

On Bernstein's blog, volume 26, there's more of the same of what I consider crying and whining. I posted a note about doing things. One poster says it's naive to expect men to stand up for themselves in such a female dominated medical culture. I disagreed. He wrote:

"It would be naive to expect this from men given the present situation; therefore, other approaches must be tried."

I responded:

I'm not convinced of that, rsl. I have higher expectations of men. Men need to realize that taking a stand for who you are and what you believe in is masculine, not wimpy. I believe that most women respect strong men who know what they believe in (assuming what they believe in is not criminal or unethical) Men will have to risk being called sexist by some (a minority, I believe) of feminists. Can men take the hits and reasonable argue their case? It's all about gender equity and sexual discrimination, folks. Gender equity doesn't translate as women's rights.
On the last volume, [Vol. 25 of Bernstein's blog and this blog, too) I posted a set of guidelines from a Toronto hospital for how they dealt with patients asking for specific gender (and other) care. The guidelines seem pretty reasonable to me. Did anybody read it? I saw no responses to it.
I'm sending it to several American hospitals, asking them to send me a copy of their policy on this issue. I'll bet most don't have any written policy. When you have no written policy, you can pretty much do what you please, which is what most do.

Read that guideline. It's not perfect, but it's a start. It clearly separates those who want specific care because they are racist or sexist -- from those who are just embarrassed or humiliated. It outlines a protocol for caregivers to go through. It doesn't promise anything -- and it's certainly written from the caregiver point of view -- but it opens up the discussion and includes the patient.
This is one thing we can do. Pressure hospitals to deal with this issue -- in writing. Written policies. Force them to discuss this issue in terms of how they will specifically deal with it.
Good advice from Dr. Bernstein about using youtube and other social networking outlets. Anyone want to start a facebook page on this topic? If you do these things, expect to take the hits. You're gonna get them. Plan for it.
Go for it.

Joel Sherman said...

MER, most hospitals are aware of very few complaints concerning modesty violations and nearly all are from women.
But is it subject to change? Yes, I'm sure it is. My guesstimate is that if every hospital received just 2 formal complaints per year from men about modesty/privacy violations they would institute changes to solve the problem. But a guy has to do more than just look embarrassed. He has to lodge a formal complaint at a level that can't be ignored. It solves nothing if a guy complains to the nurse taking care of him and she responds that nothing can be done. If you drop it there, nothing will change. You need take these complaints to the patient advocate on up to the CEO if necessary.

Anonymous said...

The post MER referred to was mine (rsl). In response to Jimmy's post:

[excerpt]
...These women with concerns had someone to turn to with their feelings, someone to confide in but all we have is women. If their were more males, maybe more males would open up with their concerns? Much like the visitors have done who have come to this site. It’s easier to communicate when you have someone on your side, not when 92% of the providers are telling you that you’re wrong.

I responded:
Jimmy makes a very good point. Not only do men have 92% of the nurses telling them they're wrong but 99% of the other support staff, from billing clerks to cnas, telling them they're wrong. A man feels like he's walking into a beauty parlor and demanding a barber.

The point I was trying to make was that individual men, unaware of like-minded groups or organizations, are unlikely to spontaneously register complaints--a fact borne out by the fact that we don't. When most doctors were men, I sincerely doubt that women would've complained had there been no womens groups and 99% of the support staff was also male, IOW, if there were no sympathetic ear.

Informational/activist sites like this and Dr. Berntein's are game changers. I know they were for me. My conversation with my primary may have led to the hiring of a first male MA.

But this will require a lot of outreach.
--rsl

Joel Sherman said...

This was sent to me by email and I'm reprinting it without identification.

I am surprised not to see more on the site about guys who are small.

I am small and it is hell. I was in the hospital for 8 days in 1995 and a nurse ripped the sheet off of me and used the always hated, “Let’s take a look.”
I got furious. There it was, sitting there, barely visible above the skin. Then she got mad at me. She ordered my wife to leave the room and she started to leave and I ordered her back. The nurse got even with me though. She left me lying their naked and she stared at my diminutive member for at least 60 seconds.
Since then, I have wondered how much I was laughed at when she went and told the others on the service.
I have decided to never go back to a hospital again. I would rather die than risk going through anything like that again.
My wife is aware of those desires, to let me bleed out on the pavement after a traffic accident instead of having women laugh at me again. Who knows what she will actually do if that time ever comes.
The odd thing is I don’t have any problems with men because I am pretty physical and they understand that if they laugh I could easily back them into the nearest corner. But it hurts when women laugh and I can do nothing.
Recently I asked my physician who took care of me in 1995 if they had to use a child size Foley catheter on me during surgery and the best answer he could offer was, “It is possible.” That probably got a few laughs while prepping me that morning.

Thanks for your service with the site.

Joel Sherman said...

The above post raises several issues which have not been talked about here.
This is not my field but the majority of men who are embarrassed over their size need not be. It's easy to get information if you Google 'penis size'. 90-95% of men are between 5-7 inches erect (quoted statistics do vary from study to study). (Flaccid it's more like 3-4 inches.) As the average vagina is 4 inches long, nearly all men have the necessary length. In fact girth may be more important. Many men underestimate their size because they view down upon themselves and get a foreshortened view. The prominence given to men’s size in our present culture is something new and didn’t exist in earlier decades. It’s probably caused by our Hollywood culture and the widespread availability of porn which showcases very large men. If you’ve ever seen pictures of classic Greco Roman statues, you’d know that they didn’t care about a guy’s size. They’re all depicted as small.
Without knowing the poster's medical problems it's hard to fully appreciate what happened. A comment of 'let's take a look' is not necessarily derogatory. But given your great embarrassment and sensitivity on the issue, trying to prearrange same gender care would be appropriate, though it may be difficult. If you need any elective procedures you should discuss the issue well in advance with your physician so that he can understand the issue and arrange for sensitive care.

swf said...

Dr. Sherman:
I find the info you posted to the anon. above very caring and probably reassuring. Size does seem to get a ridiculous amount of negative attention.
And while 'let's take a look' may not necessarily be derogatory, some of the rest of the story is disturbing.
Why did the female 'caregiver' get mad at him? Why did she not ask if he wanted his wife to leave the room before ordering? Why leave him uncovered for so long?

Hopefully he will be able to (someday) speak up for himself, make his needs known, and not avoid care.

After so long a time I'm sure we can get no viable answers, but it sounds like this woman should be doing nothing more intimate than tieing bows on small pets after grooming.

Anonymous said...

Dr Sherman


Some perhaps what you say may
be true,yet how do you explain
the behavior of those female
nurses and cna's with allnurses
site 'Whoa innappropriate".
How do you explain away why
female trauma patients are quickly
covered up while male patients are
not. How do you explain away the
increasing number of cellphone
camera incidents at hospitals.
This type of behavior will always present itself given the
opportunity and two years in a
community college dosen't make one
a professional.


PT

MER said...

What I think we need to focus on in this anecdote is the patient's perspective.We can debate all we want about the nurse's intentions. We'll never know. But we do know the response to her behavior. He felt humiliated, degraded and embarrassed. And he felt the nurse was insensitive to any of this. He felt abused.
Now -- could he have misperceived the incident? Of course. But that's not the point.
I find it ironic that if a women feels she is being sexually harassed, the law says she has been sexually harassed. She is obligated to inform the harasser and tell him to stop -- but what matters is her perspective. That the harasser may say that his intention wasn't to sexually harass -- that's not relevant. (By the way, same goes, in theory at least, for men who feel they are sexually harassed.
I would suggest the same principle applies here. The point isn't the nurse's intention. The point is the patient's perception and how the nurses behavior, whatever her intention, resulted in the patient feeling dehumanized. That's what needs to be considered and addressed.

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks swf.
PT, I'm not sure what your point is. I'm not trying to explain away anything. I'm not sure from Anon's description just how much blame to put on the nurse. Was the exposure necessary? I don't know. I do know that the poster was not able to speak up for himself in time to prevent his embarrassment. If you have these issues, it is imperative in a hospital setting that you speak up right away, letting your physician know that so that he can tell the staff. I'm not saying that is the way it should be. It would be lots better if the nurse would ask if he preferred a male caregiver, but we all know that's not going to happen on its own in 99% of our institutions. So as a practical matter, the patient has to come prepared to make his wishes known. Very few people are prepared the first time they have such an experience. Hopefully the poster will be better prepared if there's ever a second time. That's better than refusing all care for the rest of your life.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify my point,the nurse
never asked permission to examine
the patient for whatever reason
that was. "Lets take a look" and
then start to remove a patients
clothing and or sheets is innappropriate and really dosen't explain what your intentions are
as a caregiver.
One should always explain carefully what your intentions are
and ask permission,that was my point. In this case perceptions
are irrevelent as it matters most
only to the patient. Seems health
care providers and half of society
have forgotten about one very
important word in our language,
respect.


PT

swf said...

Mer:
That brings me back to the question of how to determine abuse in a medical setting. It is very clear in the 'real world' how to determine these things, and as you stated, if someone says they have been abused, then most likely they will either be believed or it will be investigated. More often in a medical or facility setting, the perception is left to caregivers, and the patient is coersed into the idea that what happened was a misunderstanding of the job duties, something that couldn't be helped, or they are so sorry but they were too busy to care.
Now I understand blantant abuse and how this can be proven as actionable. Many are not blatant, and moreover what a person may consider abuse a caregiver could consider a job description.
I did read the "Caring For Patients Of The Opposite Sex" download,(it did say sex and not gender, which I believe makes the issue even clearer in staff minds) and it seemed to protect the caregiver as well as the patient. Simply finding a facility to acknowledge the issue was surprising. But admitting that patients can and will percieve abuse, or may become victims of abuse was amazing.
I would think facilities would be scrambling to (at least) protect their staff in this way, even if the concern is not really for the patients perception.

Joel Sherman said...

I post this reluctantly as nurses striking patients with an erection is certainly no more than a historical footnote at best. I will not post anymore on this topic unless it is purely historical in content:

To the gentleman whose email was
sent regarding the nurse ripping off the sheet,forgive me,it was
a long day yesterday.
The nurse was mad since you
didn't have an erection,thats good
news for you.You could have been looking at the heavy end of a steel spoon.They do keep scorecards
on these instances of dismantling
an erection you know.
For those who may have missed
the website I posted on this matter
previously it is

http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2005/05/nurses-secret-weapon.html

Apparently since the late 60's
society has a fear of male erections and flying ufo's. Now,
I do have other sites that go into
this in much greater detail the
crux of the matter is this,the
more obese and unattractive the
nurse,the larger the spoon she tended to carry.
Certainly,it would at times be
difficult to protect yourself and
I suspect she ushered the wife out
of the room so there would be no witnesses. One might think that
hospital clergy or even the bio-
engineering dept would have stepped
up to help in these cruel assaults
by passing out jock protectors.
A high tech progressive company
could even sell these jock protectors in hospital gift shops
and cover the outside with a material similar to that from a
super ball. That certainly would
send any spoon back flying from
whence it came.



PT

Joel Sherman said...

I have received two more emails from the humiliated gentleman. I have edited out all possible identifying information at his request. Here's the first:

To clarify, my actual small size is not a great problem for me. Having a woman humiliate me because of my size turned out to be a horrible problem for me. I was not clear about this before and that diffused the focus away from the issue.
A physician whom I see is a gastroenterologist. He told me I should have a colonoscopy. I had told him of my earlier in-hospital experience. So I told him I also thought I should have a colonoscopy if he could arrange an all-male team to perform the procedure. He made a few remarks and dismissed it. I know he has the power to arrange such a thing but it would be inconvenient for him to do so. Besides, then you presumably would be known by the females who usually do the procedure as the guy who was too embarrassed to undress for them. That is about the same as avoiding those new screening machines at the airport by getting in the pat-down line which by now must be known as the “small penis” line.
I am sick of hearing people say, “I’ve seen everything.” The truth is they have not, they have not seen my genitals which is the issue I care about. I do not care if they have or have not seen “everything.”
I am also sick of hearing people say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter.” If it truly does not matter, then why are they wearing clothes? This is true in the medical field and particularly true for the female “journalists” who invade men’s locker rooms – perhaps they should have three rooms for interviews: one where all must be fully clothed, a second where all must be naked, and a third where each person can choose their level of dress. Then the athletes and the journalists can choose and we could see if it “mattered” to anybody or not.

Joel Sherman said...

Second email:

I was humiliated because I have small genitalia and she was a female stranger, not interested in sex, who (1) exposed me without permission, and (2) looked at, and ultimately stared at my penis. This may not make much sense to you so this may be one of those things that is difficult to explain using written words; if you have not experienced humiliation due to a small penis, I am not sure I can describe it.
Suffice it to say that while nature is telling me on the inside that I am a man like every other man, society is telling me I am nothing but a punchline. When that nurse revealed my “secret” I did not need to wonder what she was thinking – society teaches that we are a joke and more than that, it is perfectly legitimate for people to laugh at us. You or anyone telling me she was not even paying attention is disingenuous since we all know it is human nature for people to notice others’ genitals, particularly outliers, large or small.
I was in the hospital for emergency surgery for a massively infected gall bladder so not a scope job. I had a large wound (approx. 7 inch scar) which was draining but all of that was several inches above my pubice so there was no need to expose me so completely. First she had to pull down the sheet, then pull my gown up so she had to work some to expose me; she could have proceeded in the opposite order to arrive at the wound region that she wanted to inspect. There was no catheter.
Nobody before her did what she did. I am sure she thought her job entitled her to do all that she did, apparently notwithstanding anything else; I suppose she had to feel important. Otherwise I don’t know why she would have gotten mad at me. She did not say anything to me about my genitals but that was not required for the humiliation to occur. I have a small penis, she viewed it, and until somebody changes society it was automatic for her to think derisively about me. I cannot read minds but I don’t have to read minds to know what society thinks. In addition, I imagine she rushed back to tell others about her experience. Needless to say, I got some gym shorts on as soon as I could. Also, thereafter nobody else did what she did; no one else felt compelled to expose me to do their job – they just did their job. If they had tried later, the gym shorts would have saved my modesty but I am assuming there was nothing left to save after she spread the word.

Anonymous said...

No matter how people like to rationalize, all people look at others when they are naked.

I went to the blog where the nurse Suzette wrote about the spoon protocol. She described how she has seen hundreds of penises in her time and then proceeded to describe them. Sounds to me like she looked.

Joel Sherman said...

swf, could you reference the 'Caring For Patients Of The Opposite Sex' download that you mentioned.
I don't recall seeing it before.

swf said...

Sorry Dr. Sherman. I thought I had read it here.
http://extranet.somerset-health.org.uk/area15/policies/CaringForPatientsOfTheOppositeGenderJul06.pdf

Mer actually had found this.

One page says gender, and one says sex, but the amazing thing to me is that they addressed it at all.

swf said...

There are two interesting parts from the site.

"Not understanding the cultural background of a patient can lead to confusion and misunderstanding with some patients believing they have been the subject of abuse. It is important that healthcare professionals are sensitive to these issues and alert to the potential for patients to become victims of abuse."
While one sentence states that it could be the misunderstanding of the patient that they have been abused, the other cautions that patients CAN become the victims of
abuse. One could wonder if it is simply poor construction of the writers intent, but I don't believe that is the case. Without direct accusations, the crafter of the document has made the possibity of these situations very clear to intimate care providers.

"Intimate care should, where possible, normally be provided by a member of staff of the same gender as the patient."
While I do find the terms "where possible" and "normally" a bit conflictive in the same sentence, after reading the entire document the intent of "normally" is very clear, and the "where possible" should be the exception.(And well documented as to why.)

At this point in advocating, I would find it rather shocking if we could get this type of commitment to gender sensitivity published at any facility.(Unless someone has had a better experience advocating for this than I.)
The states seem to want tighter control of patient options than other places are willing to give. I have to conclude lately that it is not really so much the dollar factor or the inconvienience, but rather the reluctance to let so much control leave the hands of a select and relative few.

MER said...

Very good points, swf. You're correct in your interpretation of that sentence in the document. They seem to be saying that, if the caregiver misunderstands the cultural mores of a person and does something that the patient perceives as abuse, that that patient has been abused. Now, we're not necessarily talking "legally," here. Who knows what would happen in court. For example, if a culture considers it abuse for a member of the oppose sex to touch one's genitals, and that happens, than, within that cultural context, that patient has suffered abuse. That's how I interpret the sentence. That's why it's so important, the document says, for the caregiver to understand cultural mores.
Having said all that, I can see how in some cases, especially emergencies, caregivers are focused on saving lives and may overlook these things. I'm not excusing them. But in each case you've got to look at the specific factors. I also empathize with the caregivers in some situations. But bottom line is that it's their responsibility to see where people are coming from with regard to their own bodies.
And I also agree with you that I would think it would be difficult to get this kind of policy embedded into any American hospital. I'm trying. The most common response is to just igonore the issue, pretend it isn't an issue. That's what I'm finding. It's even difficult to get an honest, open discussion going with the hospitals about this issue.

Anonymous said...

"Now, we're not necessarily talking "legally," here. Who knows what would happen in court."

It depends mostly on whether you're male or female.

swf said...

'"Anonymous said...
It depends mostly on whether you're male or female." '

I really have to point out that this is the attiude that makes it depend "mostly on whether you're male or female." If men assume it will not help, then it will not, because you are discouraging even attempting. Some men will read your response and not bother trying. Why would you not instead, incourage MORE men to speak up, and work on abolishing that difference?

Anonymous said...

I'm just being realistic, but of course I support men in their battle for medical equality.

Joel Sherman said...

Here's a thread from allnurses concerning male catheterizations and modesty. It is striking that not a single nurse mentions the option of getting a male nurse to do the catheterization. Finally a male poster who mentions Bernstein's blog does.
I do think it is fair to say if the genders were reversed, obtaining a female nurse to perform the procedure would come up immediately.

Anonymous said...

I think because women had no choice of doctor until fairly recently and are more likely to face exposure if they've had children, it almost comes off as pay-back time.
I find it sad when women say they have no modesty after having children.
I certainly do.
I found it hard even with a female obstetrician I trusted and told her my fears at our first meeting about loss of control and dignity. Pain was a secondary matter.
I was prepped privately for an elective c-section in a private hospital. It wasn't difficult at all when my request was made in advance. My obstetrician was also covered by great female doctors.
I haven't been affected in any way, yet many of my friends who didn't control the situation had horribly embarrassing and humiliating experiences - all of which were avoidable.
My modesty and being in control are important. Any medical person who doesn't appreicate that is not touching me.
The nurse that says, "we have to have pelvic exams" well, you don't actually. I've never had a doctor mention pelvic exams to me, that must be an American thing.
I have always declined smears as my husband and I are in a lifetime mutually monogamous partnership. I've had very few embarrassing exams over the years, probably about 4 and they all related to my pregnancy and the birth of my son. In the hands of my obstetrician (who has 3 kids of her own) and a great midwife, I coped...
Treating people like lumps of meat is dehumanizing. Sadly, the onus is on us to think ahead and plan...of course, an emergency situation we can all just hope for the best.

Joel Sherman said...

Well I don't know about 'payback' anon. The situation for women has certainly improved as far as physician choice, but you always had full choice of nurses and ancillary personnel.
For men the situation has if anything gotten worse. Men have become more modest in the last 20-30 years while their choices in a hospital have become even more proscribed. Whereas catheterizations and preps used to be done by male orderlies, they are now routinely done by nurses or CNAs.
But I don't think gender wars are useful. I am in favor of respectful care for everyone which should include gender choice whenever possible. For men only, it is often not possible in modern hospitals. Women have more options.

Anonymous said...

I always felt males were given more respect with their modesty, but hadn't thought about medical settings.
I always wondered why in movies the woman would be naked and the man in underwear.
It happened so often it was like female privacy is less important than male.
In the film "Open Water" there is a gratuitous shot of the female - full frontal nudity and the male is in boxer shorts.
I have never understood why the disparity.
You see more male nudity now, but still much less than female. If you think of the big male stars, few have shown the lot, female stars a fair proportion have done nude scenes. Kate Winslet has done heaps of nude work.
I think it's terrific we have female doctors, it seemed to even things up. Hadn't thought about male/female nurse ratios.
In the days when female doctors were rare, I travelled miles to see a female doctor for anything embarrassing. I let hospitals and clinics know how I felt and could they accommodate my preference. If they said no, I kept looking. If I were male and faced with this problem, I'd do the same thing.
When these requests become a constant thing, the profession will have to address the imbalance. In the end it becomes more difficult not too.
Although a female relative, an older lady, was perturbed when a male nurse was sent to give her a wash - she sent him away.
Seems a bit silly to send a rare male nurse down to deal with a woman when there are men who'd welcome his care.
Florence

Joel Sherman said...

Florence, I think it is fair to say that movies pander to what their audiences want to see. Men are more interested in female nudity than vice versa so they show more female nudity, especially if they're trying to attract a male audience.
The differences between male and female desires in viewing nudity are nowhere near as great as prior generations believed, but it is still real.
I don't think that the Hollywood treatment of nudity has much relation to medical situations.

Anonymous said...

In respect to why more women are nude in Hollywood versus men has mostly to do with the guidelines of the rating/censor committees. Here in United States there are many more rules in Hollywood when an actor has full frontal nudity scene. If the actor looks or is even partially aroused the film becomes in question if it is an x rated film. Most directors and producers do not even want to deal with the issue and hassles in most cases. Actually until the last fifteen years it was frowned upon on television show/series to show an actor in any style of underwear other then woven boxer. The television censors thought it relieved to much to show actors in tighter underwear. If anyone here is familiar with movies/television from Europe they do not have the same guidelines as the United States and everyone bares all if that is what is called for in the script. I learned this in a film history class I took dealing with social issues.

Daniel

Anonymous said...

Daniel: The question is, though, why are the guidelines written the way the are? What rules, social attitudes, mores are operating that create guidelines like this? My guess is that it's a combination of many factors, including male attitudes toward female nudity and the protection of female modesty -- remember, when many of these codes were written, men were in charge. And, the money involved, e.g., as Joel suggested, an appeal to male audiences, and the belief, whether true or not, that nude women attract many men, whereas women are more often put off by naked men on the screen than erotically responsive to those images. Also, and this is just a thought, when the men were in charge, they had mostly unconscious fears and anxieties about full frontal nudity for men -- the rule makers felt uncomfortable about it. Maybe it was fear of their homoerotic tendencies or their homophobia. Just some guesses.
MER

swf said...

I know that this is not the usual place to post something like this, but it seems to tie to the conversation, in that it shows that female sexual interests may still be greatly misunderstood.

"Women are more sensitive to social expectations for their sexual behaviour and may be less than honest when asked about their behaviour in some survey conditions,"
From an interesting survey..
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3936
If (as the survey suggests)women are "less than honest" about something as simple as sexual partners, one must assume they are "less than honest" about viewing male nudity.

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks swf. That is an interesting result, one I would not have guessed at.
It should bring increased skepticism and doubt not only about nurses denial of male modesty, but in other areas such as female reporters denial that they're interested in looking at nude athletes.

Anonymous said...

Another less discussed factor, I think, is how some people are more sexually excited than others by viewing others embarrassment over their nakedness. That, combined with the power and/or control one has over another at that moment, does result in an erotic, sexual pleasure for some people. I'm not suggesting this is a dominant factor with doctors or nurses -- but I don't think we can ignore it either. This factor is difficult to study because it would depend upon the honesty of the subjects interviewed -- and as the study swf has posted says ""Women are more sensitive to social expectations for their sexual behaviour and may be less than honest when asked about their behaviour in some survey conditions." I'm not sure how honest male doctors or nurses would be about this subject either. It's not something you would want to admit to if you were a caregiver.
MER

Anonymous said...

I got hit by a ball and had a sore right testicle. I delayed seeing a doctor. It blew up over a long weekend and the pain sent me to the emergency dpt at the local hospital. I saw some female doctors walking around and asked for a male doctor. When my name was called it was a female doctor. I followed her into a cubicle and said I'd asked for a male doctor as my problem was embarrassing. She was fine and said she'd get a male doctor. In the meanwhile a nurse saw me seated in the cubicle and asked if I was alright. I said I was waiting for a male doctor. I explained again my complaint was embarrassing. She smiled and said fair enough and walked to the nurses station and I heard her speak to the nurse who saw me when I walked into the ER. This nurse, the first one I spoke to, then said loudly enough for me to hear..."he can't be in much pain if he's worried about THAT, how SILLY". I think those of us worried are worried all the time whether we're in pain or not.
It was this one nurse who was rude and made me feel petty, the others were fine.
I think many modesty breaches are caused because we hit a bad apple. That must be why we all have different experiences in the health care system.
David

Anonymous said...

swf I don't think you can draw that conclusion that if women lie about the number of sexual partners then maybe they are lying about how they view male nudity.
I am a heterosexual female and in all honesty I would rather not see men naked. It truly doesn't do a thing for me. If anything it probably slightly repulses me. I'd rather see a well dressed man than a naked man any day. And if you look at the market how many magazines are there for women with naked men in them and how many vice versa? The only magazines that I know of with naked men in them are for the gay market.
But I still fully support every man or woman's right to same gender care for intimate issues.
Nic

swf said...

Nic:

Thanx for weighing in on that: I find your response very interesting.
I haven't talked to many women who say that they find male nudity repulsive, although many have said that they find it intimidating.

MER:
"Another less discussed factor, I think, is how some people are more sexually excited than others by viewing others embarrassment over their nakedness. That, combined with the power and/or control one has over another at that moment, does result in an erotic, sexual pleasure for some people."
I think this is one of the more disturbing things about some people's erotic nature, since no age seems to be safe from these types of people and they have very few boundaries.

swf said...

When did men stop mattering to women? When did it become more important to protect our little girls and not our little boys? When did all issues stop being important unless they were women's issues? Why do we hear so little about female caregiver abuse and so much about male?
I know history. I know fighting for our rights. I know about creating movements so women's issues would be taken seriouly. I know about 'glass ceilings', equal pay, and fighting for a job in a man's world. But we often did it on the stregnth and influence of the men who supported or agreed with us.
Where are the women when men need them?
I see them clutching their rights so tightly that it chokes the life out of others. Do we really want 'all things equal' or instead:' all things mine"?

Anonymous said...

"But I still fully support every man or woman's right to same gender care for intimate issues"
from the same poster on another link:
"And the men are still going on and on about exposing themselves to female nurses over at Dr Bernstein's blog. Modesty is the least of our worries."
no SWF, women and men will never work together for mens rights.
good luck.

Anonymous said...

swf writes: "I haven't talked to many women who say that they find male nudity repulsive, although many have said that they find it intimidating."

You've hit upon what seems to be a historical/cultural pattern. I don't have time or space here to go into details, but if you read the history of nudity and body attitudes, you find this notion going back into antiquity. Naked men are viewed as wild, out of control, savage, powerful, threatening, dangerous. Naked women are viewed as vulnerable, erotic, enticing, dangerous to men as temptresses, exciting. This attitude, to some extent, still lives with us, and I think it affects how some nurses view their work with men's bodies. I think it's why some female doctors use chaperones when examining men -- this fear of the power of the naked male body. And I'm not saying these attitudes are completely off base. Male violence on women is a huge issue in the world today, in almost all cultures.
Among other books, see "Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy" by Ruth Barcan.
MER

Anonymous said...

I went through male surgery, I asked the doctor to have an all male staff, for months before the surgery, EVERY time i talked to anyone about the surgery, everyone was informed about the males only and agreed. I showed for surgery all FEMALES I canceled the surgery, until the charge nurse came over, she talked with me and we compromised, in the OR there would be NO females permitted, and i would have female nurses for pre-op (the very respectful charge nurse) and for post op with the STRICT, condition that i would be covered 100% of the time and at no time would a female do anything to expose me or touch me in that area. when i woke up in post op recovery the female nurse tried to raise the blankets to place a ice-pack on my scrotum, instintively i hit the blanket (not the nurse) down and said no (it hurt like hell to talk) my doctor rushed over and placed the ice pack and told the nurse that they were not to move the blankets or do anything to my groin, that they were to call him over and he would do it.

The surgery was in November 2009 I am still having nightmares about it. In most of them the females are all around the surgery table with scalpels.....
-----------------------------------

I work in a hospital, I am always making sure patients modesty is protected MALE OR FEMALE ! and when nurses dont provide modesty to ANY patient I SPEAK UP for the patient, it has gotten me into trouble but when that patient thanks me later It was all worth it !

Joel Sherman said...

Early on we commented about this blog of a female urologist who termed a patient of hers sexist because he didn't want to see a female urologist. She said this despite the fact that she admitted she used a female ob-gyn for herself. The blog has been inactive without further topics for a long time. 'Keagirl' has stopped posting. But this particular thread on sexism still garners an occasional comment. The last comment (4/12/10) is by a women who states she is going into urology and takes exception to Keagirl's attitude. It is well worth reading.

Anonymous said...

Here's an article I found on MSNBC:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35874966/ns/health-mens_health/page/3/

Joel Sherman said...

This physician poster, DonMD, on allnurses gives one of the best arguments for equal protection of male and female modesty issues that I have seen.
His comments (including earlier comments) are well worth reading.

swf said...

Unfortunately (as you probably know) that thread was closed "for staff review". The poster just before was very respectful and didn't say anything that someone would take offense to as far as I could see.
But I guess out of my world, he could have phrased a point that hit close to home regarding an insecurity one of the staff could be considering regarding medical modesty. Or perhaps female nurses are tense over the fact that more male nurses mean less female nurses and allowing male modesty discussions would speed the process that they do not want to be a part of.
Probably a little of both. We may never know if they keep closing the threads when we get close to understanding each other.
But pretending that we do not exist does not make us go away. I would think that they would want to keep a finger on the pulse of this discussion: at least in an attempt to mitigate the circumstances themselves and maintain some control.

Anonymous said...

What does this say about those who shut down this thread on all nurses when Dr. Sherman writes: " DonMD, on allnurses gives one of the best arguments for equal protection of male and female modesty issues that I have seen."?

When the discussion gets good, when the arguments on the side of modesty become compelling, when a doctor actually gets on and criticizes the profession for modesty violations, when someone actually suggest some advocacy in this area -- the thread is shut down.

Yes, swf, it's about jobs and money. That's part of it. But it's also about power. I've found this tendency in some of my discussions with some medical professionals. They don't want patients involved in this discussion. They want to "handle" it. They don't want to discuss it with you. I actually had one doctor tell me that it was up to the patients to make a "leap of faith" that he knew what was best.
The old paternalistic attitude. We know what's best because "we're all professionals here."
And it's about fear, fear of change and fear of losing power. The concept of patient autonomy is an interesting theory -- but it takes strong, confident, self-assured, doctors and nurses to actually walk the talk. There are some who have too many of their own personal issues to deal with to actually turn actual power and control over to patients in areas like modesty.
MER

Joel Sherman said...

It's hard to know why they close these threads, though they have done so repeatedly. It's not clear that they would be concerned about the loss of women's jobs to men; after all the originator of the site is a man. Still he may not keep editorial control. There may also be an element of not wanting many posters who are not nurses.
No matter the reason though, it still behooves all of us to make our opinions known. It does make a noticeable difference. Our thoughts are widely represented on blogs that deal with these issues, despite the fact that some sites like allnurses would rather not deal with these issues.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Joel, we can't really know precise reasons why these threads close. But there seems to be a pattern. My thoughts are speculations. The fact that a male nurse started allnurses isn't really relevant, I think. Males are so under represented in nursing that those few in the profession, regardless of their rank, need to be very cautious. We see this with female doctors, how it becomes necessary for some of them to join the old boys club to make progress in the profession, to the disappointment of the female dominated nursing profession. In the military, women make up about 14 percent (17 percent in the reserves). They need to be careful about what they say and how they respond within this male dominated field.
On another somewhat related note -- this whole issue of don't ask don't tell in the military -- may indicate how significant homophobia is among young males in this country, which may transfer to this modesty issue. No doubt a significant number of younger males would rather put up with the embarrassment of a female nurse doing intimate procedures than deal with a male nurse touching their genitals. There must be more studies out about this. We know younger males have more difficult time showering with other males these days -- all part of a trend. So, I believe, we must respect nurses observations that a good number of males prefer females.
MER

swf said...

"I believe, we must respect nurses observations that a good number of males prefer females."

While I agree that we should believe and respect differing input and opinions, this ( in my experience)is the problem that I have:
The same female caregiver that often admits females have a right to preference, and men with possible "homophobic" issues have a right to preference,
will often discount the validity of men who have a same gender preference. If caregivers are really just task oriented beings, then they should find none of these preferences acceptable and discount them all.
Admitting that some men prefer (and therefore recieve) female intimate care for homophobic reasons is contrary to their own stance that it shouldn't matter: in affect admitting the sexual nature of the tasks they perform.

They can not have it both ways.

It is really all about justifing your actions and/or your role in your chosen career. If it supports your beliefs then great: if not....then belittle the preference as unjustifiable, unreasonable, or impossible to achieve.
Again, this is my experience with the hypocrisy of allowing some choices and not others.

Anonymous said...

Very good point, swf. If a male wants a female nurse because he's homophobic, and the system just accepts that -- then they need to provide the same service for males who want a male nurse, regardless of the reason. But my point was that we need to realize that homophobia is significant in our culture, and some men may not like a female working on their private parts, my still feel humiliated, but it's worse for them to have a male do it.
MER

Joel Sherman said...

It is not simply a matter of what percentage of men are homophobic though it is probably a small percentage; we don't know the actual percentages involved. There is another probably larger percentage of men who get a sexual kick out of being handled by a female nurse. This can be an outright fetish but most probably don't achieve that degree of intensity. The latter preference is certainly not to be encouraged by medical professionals. Really female nurses who insist that men prefer them, should in general be put off by it and not encouraging it. This preference for female nurses and physicians by fetishists is well recognized in medicine. See Keagirl for instance. Keagirl can't stand men like that and if a patient makes it too obvious, nurses are repelled by it as well. I tend to agree with swf that it is frequently a self serving claim by nurses to retain their positions. This is not absolute though. Some men prefer women nurses for perfectly reasonable even if arguable reasons such as their touch is gentler.

swf said...

"But my point was that we need to realize that homophobia is significant in our culture, and some men may not like a female working on their private parts, my still feel humiliated, but it's worse for them to have a male do it."
Very true. I see your point MER, and here is where the question would either define motive or complicate solutions.
A homosexual man who says he's "heterophobic" would be mortified by intimate care by a female nurse. Would he easily get a male nurse, or be told to get over it?
(I don't know if "heterophobic" is a real word, but you understand the meaning and dilema).
Does he face the same dilema as a hetero male who wants same gender? Does either one get the male caregiver that they need?

Anonymous said...

This all shows how complicated human beings are. And I don't think we can always profile people. As I've suggested in earlier posts, so much of this is contextual. A lot depends upon how respected and safe people feel through the whole process -- from the first phone call, to the first receptionist, to the nurse who escorts the patient to the exam room, etc. People near the end of this process who then need to deal with nudity -- in many cases the stage has been set. I don't think most patients have one attitude toward caregiver gender but it will vary from case to case. That's why it's so important for caregivers not to stereotype patients. Don't assume "men" are like this or that, or that "women" prefer this or that. Ask.
MER

swf said...

MER:

I am not saying I have a general problem with what you say here, but could you clarify one sentence? (Brain Block today)
"I don't think most patients have one attitude toward caregiver gender but it will vary from case to case."
Do you mean one gender preference, or that the preference may depend on the circumstance, or that it may vary from patient to patient?
Sorry...maybe I'm tired and overthinking today!

swf said...

Dr. Sherman:

There was a post on the advocate blog saying " It seems like there's been a lot of success with teaching empathy in medical school through teaching medical narrative/novels, having med students accompany patients to appointments, etc. So I think one potential strategy is to include patient modesty issues in these courses."
I will give my responce, but said I would ask you and Dr. Bernstein if I am correct.

"I know that they have been very clear that modesty in it's general form is discussed (dignity, draping, communication, respect,) but preparing medical student reactions for patient's same gender requests didn't seem to be part of that."

Did I misspeak? Thanx in advance!

Joel Sherman said...

swf,
I can't speak from personal experience as it has been decades since I've interacted with medical students on that level, in their early clinical experiences. I would think you're right, that they don't talk about how the student should respond.
When I was in medical school, I can't remember the subject of preserving patient modesty ever arising, though it was always taught in nursing schools.

Joel Sherman said...

Here's an interesting article in a general health blog that talks about male modesty. That's a minor breakthrough that someone even recognized the topic.
However the lady's response is not to suggest solutions to the problem, but to encourage men to ignore it. Be responsible she advises!
There's room for comments on the blog. I recommend you add some.

swf said...

"While there is no scientific evidence as to why men avoid doctors, many physicians attribute it to a macho culture which equates doctor visits with weakness, reluctance to undergo tests such as rectal and prostate exams and fear of finding out that something might be wrong."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704463504575301130174214118.html

*referenced from article above.*
If they know there is no scientific evidence...then why are they not working on getting it?
A survey attatched to the article may have helped, and they could answer their own question.
But as pointed out so many times, they have to ask the RIGHT questions.

Keith said...

Dr. Sherman, I am so glad to have stumbled across your blog. I am currently in the process of dealing with a situation from a recent long term hospitalization. Knowing that others have similar stories is not a good thing but it has given me a kind of a constructive push to do something about the situation and reassurance that my anger and embarrassment is not irrational because many times I tried to tell myself that logically I should not be angry and that it really doesn't matter but in the end its normal and can't be controlled.

A little back ground, Last November I fell ill and soon after admitted into the hospital with double pneumonia. After many H1N1 quick tests showing negative results another test confirmed that what I had was 95% influenza A which i guess is consistent with H1N1? The doctors told me I had H1N1 but my medical records do not? Four days after being admitted I had gotten so bad that my body was not absorbing oxygen and doctors needed to sedate and intubate. My body apparently fought off 13 different sedation medications and they ended up placing me in a medically induced coma. I was in this state for close to 6 weeks. During this time I suffered many many underlying infections as well as two collapsed lungs causing episodes of SVT each time. Four chest tubes were surgically installed and a tracheotomy. Also note that I also have a medical proxy issue on top of this. I had verbally requested My wife (we were not legally married at the time of my illness which is why this was an issue) to make my medical decisions, when they told me the possibility that i would have to be "put out" the hospital had two days to get me the paperwork to sign and failed. Legally placing my mother as the decision maker after i was out which for personal reasons is something i did not want. As my wife explains it to me since I was in the coma, it seemed like the moment the drugs kicked in and I was out any shed of dignity, modesty and privacy i had was taken away and honestly up to that point everyone was so nice and respectful. I guess if your not conscious your not entitled to your privacy. I was in the CCU (critical care unit) and the rooms were all glass with curtains to cover the glass. They had me nude in the bed, no sheets over me and a gown draped over just my private area's. Starting that first day when my wife showed up or came back to the hospital she would find my curtain wide open and the gown would only be partially covering or not at all. This lasted until my fever broke (about two weeks).

I have to split this into two parts due to the character restriction.

Keith said...

Part 2

During the first day after I was placed in the coma they also inserted a catheter. My wife left the waiting room to go to the cafeteria during the procedure and when she walked by my room the nurse was holding my penis and putting iodine on the head with a cotton ball and plastic forceps. She knew this because the curtain was 1/2 open and the two visitors from the room to the right of mine were standing at the door intently watching the whole thing. The two that were watching turned and left very fast when they noticed her walking down the hallway. She closed the curtain and went to nurse in charge and all she had to say was "sorry but these things happen". Through out the rest of the time i was unconscious it was almost daily that they would publicly wash me or take bedside xrays, ultra sounds which exposed me because they would completely remove my covers and gown for the procedures and would leave the curtain open. They also allowed family members to remain in the room during exposing procedures ... my mother, step father, brother, uncle, aunt and even my brothers girlfriend were present for at least one procedure that exposed me. Soon after I woke I was transferred to a private room and I was awake so I could control certain things but the nurses, doctors, techs ...everyone would walk in with out knocking but I kept myself covered so it wasnt a big deal, just kind of annoying having people burst through the door all the time. The only strange thing was when I asked for water to bathe myself. I had both male and female nurses but when I washed myself and the male nurses got the water, soap and cloth, he would ask if I needed help I would say nope, just 15 minutes of privacy (I could not walk so had to wash in bed) he would say, if you have a problem ring me and leave me to it in complete privacy. When a female nurse got the water she would ask if I needed help, I would reply the same as I did the male nurses except every single female nurse would burst in with out knocking 5 minutes into the bath ... basically just enough time for me to get my gown and covers completely off, to see if anything changed in the past 5 minutes (help wise) in case I forgot how to push the button for help. After a few days of this I started bathing under my covers when I had a female nurse because I knew she was coming. The first time the nurse asked how I was washing under my covers and I straight up told her that I was expecting her to burst in during because all the female nurses have done it and I prefer privacy. She just glared at me and closed the door but it did not stop it from happening every time, every day. After months of stewing and swaying back and forth whether to speak up to someone at the hospital I decided to make a call. Reception transferred me to the operations officer's office where I had to leave a message for him. I received a call back from someone who advised me that someone would be calling me this calling Monday to discuss the issues. They gave me the person's title and name but was driving when the call came in and couldn't write it down.

Ill follow up after the meeting let you know what they say.

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks for the detailed post Keith.
Unfortunately I don't think your experience is unusual in any way. That's not to say that it's standard, but many institutions get very casual about exposure in the intensive care units. And I do believe that it is common for the nurses there to feel entitled to do what they think is best without concern for patient modesty. They're just not attuned to consider patient modesty an important concern. But it is outrageous to have family and strangers wandering in and out with the patient fully exposed.
I strongly encourage you to continue with your complaint. Most institutions do respond to these complaints. One complaint can change their entire mindset. However if you receive no satisfaction, you can send the same complaint to the appropriate state board that monitors hospitals. Most states have them. This will surely get their attention even though no disciplinary action is likely. Your complaint should include all you have outlined here. Let us know what happens.

Keith said...

I may be a bit different then some of the other posters. I have no gender issues when it comes to health care. Males and Females are suppose to go through the same training and carry the same professional approach to the job. Not saying they always do, as apparent with some of the stories but I have to believe that overall doctors and nurses do remain professional a 300 comment blog which would equal some micro percentage of male patients treated each year is not going to change that.

You stated "Unfortunately I don't think your experience is unusual in any way. That's not to say that it's standard, but many institutions get very casual about exposure in the intensive care units. And I do believe that it is common for the nurses there to feel entitled to do what they think is best without concern for patient modesty. They're just not attuned to consider patient modesty an important concern."

The issue that I have with your assessment is that it would mean that this would have been happening all of or more than one patients. I was in the CCU for 6 weeks during that time my wife visited every day before work, during her extended lunch breaks she was granted and after work. It wasnt long before "visiting hours" did not apply anymore so she was usually at the hospital until 12-1am every night and almost all day and night during the weekends. During that time she nor any one else saw any procedures visible to the public .. curtains were always pulled in every room except mine. I even had a visitor from another room close to mine notice that I was exposed one day snuck into the room and covered me up. When I talked to this lady she said that every time she came to visit her husband and I had no visitors I was exposed. That day she just couldnt take it anymore (meaning she felt bad for me) and took matters into her own hands.

I expect the same treatment that every other patient gets. If they can protect the privacy of the other 20-25 patients in the unit to the point that my visitors who were at the hospital 60-70 hours per week and did not see one privacy violation with any other patient then why was this done to me? Is it because I was 28 years old at that time? and just about every other patient on that unit was 50+? Does age earn you privacy with the nurses and staff?

Joel Sherman said...

Keith, that puts a somewhat different slant on it I agree. It's hard to know why they should have treated you differently. I have to assume they didn't have a special reason to want to do you in. More likely there was some medical reason why your curtains were left open. I can only guess, but you may have needed closer monitoring than the others. This could have been because of the complexity of your condition or because you were more restless than others and prone to dislodge tubes or equipment. But no matter the reason, if they thought they needed the curtains open, they should not have left you exposed at the same time. The only possible excuse for leaving you uncovered is if you had open skin lesions that needed to be exposed. Possibly when you pursue the complaints they can come up with a reason, though I doubt that it will be satisfactory.

Joel Sherman said...

Here's a Wall Street Journal article quoting federal statistics that only 57% of men have seen a physician in the last year compared to 74% of women. The article doesn't mention modesty per se, but obviously it is a large part of the reason for male avoidance of medical care. But men also have much larger issues than women with the loss of control and independence that's part of subjecting yourself to medical care. It's just not macho.

Anonymous said...

Keith

I've worked in health care
for many years and yes,I have seen
these scenarios as in your care
played out by female nurses. Its
done because they get away with it.

PT

Anonymous said...

Re Keith's account: In some hospitals, some ERs and/or ICUs -- depending upon who's in charge -- a patient who is unresponsive, unconscious, in a coma, etc., slowly becomes less of a human being and more of an object. The patient doesn't talk, can't react to any physical stimulus, doesn't move on his/her own. Everything needs to be done for the patient -- in some cases even breathing. At some point, in some places, to some people, that patient becomes an object, just a body -- not a human being. In some places, with some people, there's a notion that if a patient is unconscious, things like modesty don't matter. Why would it? The patient isn't aware of anything.
Of course, I'm not condoning this attitude. But unless those in charge of the operation make standards clear regarding patient dignity and modesty, things like this will happen. Or -- they'll happen unless the patient's advocates, family members, friends -- or even those who happen to be visiting the ER or ICU complain about this kind of treatment at the moment it is observed to those in charge.
This kind of behavior, treatment like Keith describes, is the kind of "thoughtless" behavior Hannah Arandt describes of Eichmann -- which she calls the "banality of evil." Evil doesn't have to be purposeful, deliberate acts committed by monsters like Hitler. Evil can be committed by average, everyday, ordinary people who just don't think about what they are doing. Obtuse people who just go about doing what they're told to do without questioning authority. We are all capable of committing evil acts, especially if we are so afraid of power and authority that we will do whatever we're told to do out of fear and lack of confidence in our own inner ability to really tell the difference between right and wrong.
That's my view, my possible explanation of why things like what happened to Keith, happen.
PT is actually. Behaviors like this happen because those who do it have in the past, and continue in the present, to get away with it. They project that experience into the future. If they have gotten away with it in the past, get away with it now, they certain can continue to get away with it in the future.
MER

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to think about this, just happen stance or a clear indication of how clueless society and the medical community is about the issue of male modesty. They qoute a Dr Orrange who just happens to be a Dr who has a blog called the daily strengty or something similar in which I and others took her to task when she flippantly included in the 10 reasons men don't go the the Dr. because we will stick our finger up there butts and we will squeeze their balls. When challenged that if a male Dr made such inappropriate comments about females she dismissed them just as flipantly and started a second blog taking the issue since there are women's clinics should there be mens clinics, to which she concluded no becasue women had special needs and men could get their needs met in general medicine. Dr. Orrange is of course involved at USC and specializes in womens health...so I can see why the WSJ would quote her as an expert on mens health paticularly why we don't use health care...unbelivable...alan

Anonymous said...

i am not sure where this belongs but i will post it and if Dr Sherman feels it should be moved no problem. I had an experience which I think sums up the majority of what we as males experience. I recently went to a concert just out side of Indianapolis. I went with my wife and 22 year old daughter. We approached the gate to enter a young female stepped forward a middle age male was directly behind her taking tickets. She had my wife and daughter open their purse and peeked in, she had each put their arms out and turn around in a circle and waved them in. When I stepped up with wallet and phone in hand she said everything out of your pockets, I said yes she said put your arms out, I did so expecting her to tell me to turn around, instead she started patting me down. When she finished I looked at her and said do I look shady, you didn't pat my wife or daughter down..she said just doing what I am told. I looked down the row and saw the same scenerio being repeated, no females being patted down but all males were. Now a couple issues come to mind, 1st if this were reversed with a young male waving males through and then patting down females, all hell would break loose, which is why this occurred. And 2nd with all of the focus on profiling with Arizona's new law, the fact that they would so openly do this indicates the battle we males have to battle. It just isn't a concern when a non minority is involved. While medical modesty cuts across racial lines, the mentality is the same. We just are not condictioned to see a non minority as a victim.

Anonymous said...

Look at what one wife said about her husband from another source:

My husband has been so traumatized by callous female nurses violating his modesty in a VA hosptial that he has postponed a ureterocscopy to diagnose what is probably cancer for many months. He has spoken up but is treated like a crazy person--his own prime care doctor labeled him bi-polar and delustional!
Is there any legal precedent or law that could back up my husband's desire for modesty when he has to have such sensitive urological procedures?


I think that VA hospitals are less likely to respect patients' wishes for modesty. It is very obvious that this male patient is willing to have the procedure with a male doctor and a male nurse only. Men who value their modesty are not crazy.

Many men are willing to have intimate procedures if their doctor orders them, but they are uncomfortable with having female nurses participate.

Has anyone here ever had serious problems with modesty at VA hospital?

Joel Sherman said...

I worked at a VA on and off for a few years during my training. I did not witness any major modesty violations then, though I'm not counting exposure to nurses which happens everywhere.
I have since read accounts of marked modesty violations at VA hospitals but they were not from sources that I would deem reliable.
I presently have many patients who go to a VA clinic to get free or inexpensive meds, and all of them have been happy with the care. The clinic doctor is an older woman.

Joel Sherman said...

Please note that the companion blog has a summary article on male modesty and why we need to address the subject.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me what exactly a colonoscopy tech does and where they are located in the exam room? Are they able to see a patient's private area (front or back)?

The only gastro clinic in my town has only female colonoscopy techs. Can I still preserve my modesty?

LL

Joel Sherman said...

LL, you will likely be given a gown open in the back to put on in private. You'll be exposed from the rear during the procedure and the doctors and assistants will be behind you. There is no reason for anyone to view you from the front while you're under sedation. That's not a guarantee it couldn't happen though. If you're concerned, talk to your physician ahead of time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response Dr Sherman. Do you think there's really a need for assistants? I have watched several colonoscopy procedures on youtube to try to get an idea of what happens and who's there. In only one video I saw an "assistant" of some type helping the doctor insert the camara. All the rest either just stood there doing nothing or were out of the picture completely. I failed to see any need for one assistant, much less several assistants. I wonder how much of the videos were censored. Maybe they don't want the general public to see how many worthless assistants stood around doing nothing, or maybe they were told to stay out of the way so the procedure could be clearly seen on the video. Either way, they didn't seem to be necessary.

For that reason I've decided against having the procedure. I would rather take my chances of heading to an early grave rather than tolerate the unethical behavior of those arrogant, pitiless medical jerks.

If any doctors, nurses or techs are reading this I hope they can see the damage they do to people's lives by not caring about the way patients feel. I know I'm not the only person that feels this way, thousands or even millions of people suffer and die prematurely because the medical world doesn't care enough about them to treat them with the respect every human deserves. Especially male patients.

LL

Joel Sherman said...

LL, I'm not an expert on the procedure. There is almost always a nurse or anesthetist in a room where sedation is being given though they may not have much to do during the procedure. But they do monitor vital signs. Some units may also require another person to run the equipment, though this is usually not required.
So you can always expect 1 to 2 assistants in the room.

Anonymous said...

This post refers to military pre-induction physicals but I wrote it in the "Male Modesty Violations" string because the topic involves the complete lack of respect for young men's modesty from female doctors and assistants rather than group situations.

An author named Lars G Petersson, a Swedish-born Londoner, activist and trained nurse has written a book called "Medical Rape - State Authorised German Perversion". In it he describes the experiences of 17 year old German boys and what they go through in their pre-induction physicals they are all required to attend. I'm not familiar with the modern German military but it appears they still have a draft.

I haven't bought the book but there is a good description of it directly from the author at

http://www.larsgpetersson.com/military-abuse/in-english/

It describes in detail the humiliation of those young boys, examined mostly if not entirely by women and what effects it has on them later in life. In the contact section he gives an email address to apparently contact him in person. It might be a good idea to email him and invited him to check out this blog.

LL

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks LL. I was aware of the book, which has not yet been released in this country, but I had not seen the link you gave. I will try to contact the author.
I note that the situation he describes is not as bad as the group physicals the boys in the US had to incur in the Vietnam era where they were exposed nude in mass, in some centers in front of non medical female personnel. The present situation in Germany is now similar to the US where the intimate exams are usually done in private and the examiner may be (but is not always)a woman. Non medical personnel are no longer supposed to be present during the intimate exam, but I don't know if it is always followed. Also from what I have read, nudity in Germany is more acceptable than in the US and most recruits may not have any trouble with it.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting post on allnures. I believe it was I am so embaressed, it was written by a nurse whom I took to be a young female who was embaressed because she gave a male patient who looked like her Ex a bed bath and got flustered and possibly excited by it, he requested and she consented to a second and thought the other nurses were looking at her oddly becasue she did it. The really disturbing post was by a tyvin in the 2nd page where she states something like "the majority of men of a mature age who are normal hetersexual have fantises of young nurses doing this to them. I couldn't believe it. What if a male made some comment like that, since I am not a nurse I am not registered and couldn;t reply but it was offensive and shows why men have such an uphill battle to have our modesty respected. Later in a post about teens having to wear diapers she talks about when she was a patient she required supplies so she could do this her self rather than be embaressed by having other nurses do it. What a hypocrite, can't imagine why men would avoid seeking healthcare with people like that "helping" them

Joel Sherman said...

Anon, could you post the url of the thread from allnurses?

Anonymous said...

I will try to do so but I am pretty e-limited. Just a follow up, tyvin got support from a nurse otannawarn. When challenged by another poster she says it may be sexist but its true. She ignores numerous challenges of her position choosing to stick to her opinion that almost all mature men have these fantasies whether we admit it or not, why not just say all mature men are pervs. the thing that bothered me the most was no one except one guy challenged her. Its no wonder male nurses and male patients are treated as they are when a nurse can have this kind of attitude and no one challenges her, if a male nurse had said anything like this they would have been crucified. I only wish I could challenge these, and I use the term loosely "nurses". I can't believe no one challenged them, it reflects poorly on the whole profession and paticularly female nursing. If anyone is registered as a provider on the site I hope they jump in and hold them and those who allowed it to go unchallenged accountable...alan here goes http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/im-so-embarrassed-51478.html don't know if that will work, if not google allnurse.com and in the search window type I'm so embarrassed

Joel Sherman said...

Alan, I think your link is correct but I keep getting directed to another thread for some strange reason.
It does work though if you search for "I'm so embarrassed"

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sherman, I was really disturbed reading this. I am in my 50's and to be honest, my first thoughts was I don't ever want to be in a setting where I am looked upon like that. Even more disturbing than the two sexist nurses was the fact that only one male challenged them. It made me think the female nurses either agreed or didn;t care. If this had been a male acting like that they would have been all over them. Even accusing male nurses of this would have been challenged by some, but saying it about a patient,,,no problem. Is it any wonder men don't use the medical system as much as women. Dr. Sherman or anyone else, any idea how this issue can be addressed with the nursing community, allnurses, since we can;t get to the nurses themselves. As soon as they get challenged by some guy the moderator threatens to censor them...really disturbing impression of nurses. I would like to respond to this but am at a loss....alan

Joel Sherman said...

Alan, I agree the comment is disturbing and should be challenged further.
I think you said that you couldn't comment on Allnurses because you're not a nurse. That is not true; anyone can sign in and comment. I'd encourage you to do it.
Let us know if you do. I once had a login on allnurses, but resigned after they deleted a post of mine because I gave a url to here.

Anonymous said...

I post on allnurses. I tried to start my own page about this subject but recieved a message that I couldn't. I see non- nurses start threads all of the time, so maybe I'm just doing it wrong.
I hope anyone who has any luck will let us all know.

swf

Anonymous said...

yeah I saw they also posted they would remove or edit any reference to it on the original post, evidently they don't want to discuss it. Really disappointing I thought it was only a minority of nurses and I started thinking over all the majority was with us, not i have to wonder

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm

Maybe I could add a page to my blog called
"Are Nursing Sites Sexist Regarding Male Patients?"
Think we would get alot of feedback?

Can I get sued for that?

Anonymous said...

I think it might draw some comments and interest, the problem is we do not get the medical people to respond. They have to know this & Dr. Bernstein site are here. I think the sexism extends perhaps beyond the patients. I read another post all allnurse where a nurse was discussing a rude comment by a surgeon, she says "I don't know why male surgeons". If this was reversed, if we said I don't know why female nurses or female Dr's would it go unchallenged? While by no means are all cases of violating patients modesty the result of sexism...I have to believe at least on the male side a portion if it is. From Dr Orange to this we see obvious indications of sexism that the female perps not only do not recognize, refuse to admit when confronted. While it may not be THE issue, it is A issue

Anonymous said...

"I can't believe no one challenged them, it reflects poorly on the whole profession and paticularly female nursing"

I saw that remark, too, and almost challenged it -- but didn't for reasons I've stated below.

My experience with allnurses has been mixed at best. What's being described here is part of what I've been calling the group think associated with the "old girls club." It's perfectly acceptable to talk about group think within the "old boys club," but when you start applying it to professions dominated by women like nursing, esp. if you're a man, you generally get attacked.
allnurses reflects this "old girls club" group think attitude. If you challenge that remark, chances are you'll get attacked and/or be told that you're off topic, or, the thread will be "closed for review." Interestingly, with all the threads that have been "closed for review," I've never either seen them opened again or a report on what was reviewed and the conclusions. This is part of the "secret" disingenuous medical culture. If the topics uncomfortable, use your power to shut down the conversation.
In many regards, when it comes to topics like this, the allnurses culture is an unhealthy one, and quite destructive in terms of the profession. I've stated that before on all nurses and have gotten slammed. I'll say it once more -- any profession dominated by one gender gets into this group think culture and, as a group, are unable to see things from varied points of view. Allnurses values "venting" above almost everything else. I considered anonymous venting the way it's often done on allnurses as damaging to the profession. With their blinders on, they just don't see it that way.
MER/Doug

Anonymous said...

"I think it might draw some comments and interest, the problem is we do not get the medical people to respond. They have to know this & Dr. Bernstein site are here."

There are so many good comments here lately, but for now one quick point:
If I read my 'stats" correctly, I have gotten hits from the allnurses site. What I'm not getting is comments from them, which probably speaks to Doug's posts. They know we are here, but I don't know if they are 'blocking us out" or hoping we will go away. Maybe both.

swf

Anonymous said...

So speaking of allnurses;
here is a thread that I found rather interesting.

http://allnurses.com/nursing-issues-patient/caring-jehovahs-witnesses-118304.html

First, compared to the one about treating the muslim patient (which quickly turned to bigotry) this one is very compassionate.
But here is my point:
Out of respect for their blood transfusion choices, the facility will go out of their way to respect patient wishes. They will expend staff to educate patients about risks. They will expend staff to educate patients about non-blood products. They will expend staff to draw the patients own blood if they will accept it. They will expend staff to provide every aspect of care if the decision to not accept blood turns dire. And most support the patients right to choose.
And yet, how many will "expend" a few minutes to try to provide same gender intimate care?
It seems that they have the staff and time for selective beliefs.

No disrespect to J.W.'s, but what is fair to one set of beliefs is fair to all others.

swf

Anonymous said...

You have got to read an article linked at allnurses.com. There was a female Ear, nose, & throat Dr. at Gila Regional Hospital in Sivler City New Mexico who was reported for doing unauthorized and uneeded genital exams on male paitents while they were unconcious for surgery. In one case after completling throat surgery she whipped back the covers, pulled the patients penis out, slapped it several times while saying bad boy, bad boy, while the all female OR staff laughed. It appears this went on for several years and was well known to the staff that she was doing this. After the afore mentioned event, a nurse reported her to the hospital who did nothing where upon she reported her to the state. She was disciplined by the state as follows: she has to have a chaperone over 18, she can not do any intimate exams for any reason, and several other restrictions, where upon the hospital allowed her to continue to work there. Subsequently the nurse who reported her was terminated of "other non related reasons". Now if this had been a male surgeon, and male OR staff, would this have gone on for years unreported, and would they be allowed to continue to work? To top it off, the hospital had not decided if they were going to notify the male patients or not. Is this unbelievable? The article was in a magazine called outpatient surgery magazine. Go to allnurse.com search male nurses need chaperone (look for the one from Dec 2010), there are side topics on the right of the page, look at the one "another nurse fired for reporting Drs inappropriate behavior" or go to page 6 of that blog but there are two articles in the side note on it. I know it won't matter but I am going to google the hosptial and express my disquest. I hope others do the same...its really bad

Joel Sherman said...

Anon, this case has been commented on previously on these blogs but is still pertinent. Here's a reference. Yes, I agree that the most startling aspect of this case is that the surgeon's behavior had gone unchecked for years without any OR nurses complaining. If it had been a male surgeon, I agree that complaints would have been heard much earlier, but in all fairness, years ago, male surgeons got away with a lot of inappropriate comments if not behavior. Our expectations on inappropriate behavior are just now being applied fairly across genders. Note that the male heads of departments were also aware of this lady surgeon's outrageous behavior, so it wasn't as if this was an all female cover up. The fact that the nurse who finally complained got fired means that the nurses who said nothing judged their situation correctly, unfortunately. I too hope that the hospital has paid a price for their outrageous conduct in looking the other way.

Anonymous said...

I was stunned. Events like this undermine not only faith in the facility but faith in the institution of medical care. I am struggling for something that would bring pressure on Gila. Is there any thing at all people can do here. Not being from NM not sure what if anything can be done. Any ideas?

Joel Sherman said...

Don't know if there is anything practical that can be done. It would take some research. You can find what NM agency regulates hospitals and see if their actions are online. If so you might discover what action or recommendations they took against Gila hospital.
If there's no information you can still write a letter (or email) to the NM board, but as an outsider, you probably won't get a reply. You can of course also write a similar letter to the hospital expressing your opinion. They would certainly take note if enough protests are received. Once again you will likely not get a response. If you do take action, please let us know what if anything happens in response.

Anonymous said...

I went to the hospital web site and sent a comment to the patient advocate. I will let you know if I get a reply. The frustrating part is I know more people would condemn this if they knew about it, the question then becomes how to accomplish this. I am going to give it some thought, may not be able to do anything but i am going to atleast give it a shot.

Anonymous said...

I did get a reply asking if she could share this with the board and hospital administrator, I of course agreed. Now lets see if thats where it ends, honestly I did not think I would get a reply

Joel Sherman said...

Thanks for the follow up. Yes it's surprising that she replied. The story must be old to them. What exactly did you say?
Every email helps.

Anonymous said...

Short version, I told them that the Dr.'s abuse of male patients was perhaps no worse than their decision to retain her. Both undermined the trust in the medical institution that is so important to the relationship that is essential to a patients treatment. I told them they had a chance to restore trust in their facility by terminating their association with someone who had assulted patients, but instead linked themselves with her by allowing her to remain on staff. Last I asked them to answer two questions 1. how can her actions of striking an unconcious patient for the amusement of herself and other female staff be considered anything other than assult regardless of the sexual nature and (2) if a male surgeon had uncovered a female patient and slapped her vagina saying bad girl bad girl to a room of laughing male staff...would they still be employed. Side note, I also emailed the reporter who has kept this story alive complimenting her on her courage for keeping this alive in the face of criticism from some of the locals and sent and email to the attorney representing the nurse who reported it, asking her to pass my appreciation and admiration for her willingness to step forward and bring this horrendous abuse to light....alan

Anonymous said...

Excellant job alan. I hope the nurse receives your message of support...

swf

Anonymous said...

I have not been able to find out how this doctor defended herself. Did she just deny all the accusations -- even with all the witnesses? Or did she give medical "reasons" why she did what she did? Has anyone found out what defense she used?
MER/Doug

Joel Sherman said...

Doug, no criminal charges were filed against the surgeon. The investigative proceedings of the state medical board are likely not released to the public, so even if she made a formal defense, it's not in the public realm.

Joel Sherman said...

I too meant to compliment you on your letter Alan. A male surgeon might well be expelled from the staff for similar transgressions, though to be honest that wasn't true decades ago. The medical board did put severe restrictions on her at least. She didn't get off lightly. I'm sure her practice has diminished greatly even being the only ENT in town.
Can you name the reporter who is following up on the story?

Joel Sherman said...

Here's the answer to your question Doug:

"Sparks had the right to request a hearing before the Medical Board, but instead signed an agreed order with the board, dated Nov. 17, denying any wrongdoing but acknowledging that the board could present evidence in support of the allegations if the matter were to proceed to a hearing.

Anonymous said...

The attorney's name was Sherry Trippet from Silver Springs. From what I read, Dr. Sparks claimed as a Dr. she had the right to examine all parts of a patient in her care. Obviously, the board did not buy it. My question though is why would a patient not file suit against her. Simplify the act that brought this to light. She struck an unconcious patient 3 times with no medical purpose. That is assult by almost any standard.

Joel Sherman said...

Alan (?), the patients could file suit against Dr Sparks, but as far as I know, the patients have not been informed that they were the victims of the assaults. As these incidents were not recorded in the OR proceedings, it would be hard to prove which patients were victims.

Anonymous said...

That is true, how ever if I had been her patient you can dang well bet I would be contacting the nurse and pulling my records to see who was present. A couple things I questioned though when wondering why no one filed suit, I got the impression there were a lot of lower income hispanic patients, which make one think they may not understand the system or may be reluctant to step up...I wish the male patient were readers of this blog, if they were, they like I would have gained the knowledge and confidence to challege things like this. I want to tell you Dr Sherman, while we may not have an organization to challege this, you and Dr Bernstien are making a difference, one person at a time. While it may not seem to make a huge difference in general, to the individuals like me, it is a huge difference,,,,alan

Joel Sherman said...

Almost certainly the worst abuses occur against lower class or welfare patients who are less likely to have the wherewithal to complain. That's probably true in all situations and for all genders. Though it's not as true as it used to be. In the ER, welfare patients are often thought to be ready to sue.
Thanks for the nice words Alan.

Anonymous said...

This is yet another example of the secrecy within the medical establishment. It's amazing what we don't know as patients when it comes to disciplining doctors and nurses. And, when these issues do come light, if further erodes the trust between patient and doctor/nurse. Secrecy. Hidden agendas. This is what causes a significant number of lawsuits against medical professionals. Dishonesty. It's not the "mistake" itself. Human beings make mistakes and most people accept that and are willing to forgive. It's the dishonesty and secrecy that sends patients to court.
Doug/MER

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting discussion going on in the case where the female dr abused unconcious male patients and was allowed to continue to practice. If you use the link Dr. Sherman posted below you will see the article, go to the bottom and you will see the link to the comments. The subject of basically giving her a pass because she is a dr and provides a valuable service appears through the comments but has really heated up. I am stunned that anyone would feel this way, I truely feel had the genders been switched and a male dr did this to female patients he would be toast, I would enocourage everyone to log on the link Dr. Sherman posted on Jan 2 and join in the fray.

Anonymous said...

I have been a victim of modesty violations while in the hospital. I have reported it to the hospital, to the state offices, to the hospital rateing association JCAHO. These violations have even been turned over to a lawyer for me,to only be turned down. Male modesty violations here is a joke to the hospitals and staff. I have even left the ER with out treatment because of rude nurses. I would like to see some legal action taken on some of these cases. the only way to get things changed is to hit them in the pocketbook because they know you can do nothing about it on your own. Laws are made to protect the insurance companies and as a result protect the perpatrators of these crimes. While awake but unable to move becasue of a spinal. I was left totally naked in plain view of everyone even visitors walking down the hall I begged to be covered and nurses just laughed at me and walked by.
When a passerby covered me up a nurse came by and uncovered me again. Not to check the wound but to humilate me. This stuff goes on all the time with no recourse, talking about it is all one can do. Nameing the hospital, the staff, the day and time it occured can get you sued by the perps. Aks 3 nurses Texas that reported a doctor for his misconduct. the victim is just left to suffer with their problems. Just like when I had surgery and was in the room, I had 4 nurses come to check me out all of them came one after the other as one would leave in would come another one then leave laughing. this would have been a boomb shell if I had been a woman and it were male nurses. Nurses delight in humilating male patients.

Joel Sherman MD said...

Anon, the violations you describe (if accurately related) are extreme. They are certainly worthy of multiple complaints as you say you have done. If you've reported it to the agencies you relate, you can be assured you've made a difference. If they treated you that badly, there will be other complaints unless they've straightened up their act quickly. In any event, you will have made a difference to the hospitals subsequent behavior.
Talking to a lawyer is the least useful way to go about it. A lawyer will not take the case if there are no likely damages to be assessed which is always problematic when there are no monetary damages.

Anonymous said...

Joel Sherman I would welcome you to come here and look for yourself. Unfortunately I will never go back to this hospital again, and of course I am labeled difficult, aggressive, or anything you can think of. I was told by a nurse "IT IS MY TURN TO LOOK AT IT NOW SO SHUT UP AND LAY STILL" This was one of the 4 that kept coming into my room. Come and see for yourself, I hope you never have to use them for anything.

Anonymous said...

while each facility is different, I have had at least on the surface a very positive experience with lodging complaints and having them addressed. I think the biggest issue remains we as males do not complain, we suck it up and say nothing. While I still contend the answer is for providers to proactively ask, I do not see this as happening as whether you like it or not hospitals/clinics/etc are still run by business people or at least as a business not providers, the administration is interested more in profit than anything else. Providers are often employed by business people and often subject to what is provided. The medical community has bought into this with gender nuetral is the most economical model. That doesn't mean most don't care but you can assume they will follow the norm. Your case seems pretty extreme compared to what I observed. I agree with Dr. Sherman though in most cases, if men do speak up, it will result in something positive some where sometime. Guys, speak up if not for yourself, for others, perhaps your sons....alan

Joel Sherman MD said...

Most stories of cleaning women in men's locker rooms are either foreign in origin or fetish. Here's one from Kentucky which seems very real.
For this country it's an amazing policy for a club to insist that a woman be allowed to clean in the men's locker room while men are there. Most male locker rooms have male attendants or are cleaned at night. When a bathroom is being cleaned, most places close it temporarily. But that's not possible for most locker rooms.

Anonymous said...

A mass “circumcision party” took place in May of 2011 in the Philippines inside a large stadium. Take a look at the last 2 pictures and notice how little they care about the privacy of these boys. One picture shows males and females nearby and boys lined up walking past a kid on the table, he only has a shirt on. The other picture shows 2 boys lying next to each other on a large table, three women wearing t-shirts that read “Future R.N.” are standing right there next to them where they can see everything while they are holding them down. I don't see a single privacy screen anywhere.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1384549/Hes-smiling--Filipino-youths-wait-line-mass-circumcision-party-world-record-attempt.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Anonymous said...

Regarding the cleaning women in the
locker room at urbin active. Their
number is 502-271-2969 and the
corporate office is 877-824-3571

This seems to me a civil rights
violation.Do they send men into the
womens locker room to clean?


PT

StayingFit said...

There is a bit of irony concerning Urban Active, the gym that has the woman cleaning the men's locker room, while in use.

It turns out that this same company offers "women only" exercise rooms in their gyms. So, they make it possible for women to workout without men seeing them, but a guy can't take a shower or go to the bathroom without a woman being present?

That is truly galling.

Anonymous said...

I had a kidney stone and had a procedure called laser lithotripsy done. During this time they put a ureteral stent in. Twelve days later I had the stent taken out in my urologist's office, who is male. I was dreading the procedure as I was not fond of being wide awake as they stuck a cystoscope down my penis to retrieve the stent. But imagine my surprise as my doctor directed a young, attractive nurse to prep me. I see a male urologist for a reason, why does he have only female assistants? She led me to the back and asked me to remove my pants and underwear, she then unfolded a paper napkin and told me I could cover myself with it...a dinner napkin. Stunned I did this. She came back two minutes later and told me to lay down and she removed the napkin and grabbed my penis to put a numbing gel down my urethra with a syringe. She then put a penile clamp on my shaft to keep the gel down. Ten minutes later she and the doctor came back to start the procedure. She handed him his tools and they removed the stent. Now during this they flush a liquid solution down the cystocsope to help it move down your urethra. This liquid then just went all over the place. On the table, all over my shirt and back. I was soaked. After the procedure, the nurse handed me some more napkins an told me I could clean myself. She then stayed in the room as I cleaned my penis, scrotum, backside, and back. She was wiping down the table but also staring at me the whole time. I then had to walk across the room, naked from the waist down to get my clothes. She was standing there, watching as I got my underwear and pants and put them on. The doctor was walking in and out of the room. The whole thing ws just embarrassing. This would never be allowed in a gynecologist office. My wife goes to a female gynocologist who has an all female staff. I went to a male urologist, with a female staff. Why do they not employ males on their staff? I now see the gender inequality in healtcare. I will never go to the doctors again. If I ever get prostate cancer, I will never seek treatment, I know that I will just check out, with my dignity intact.

Joel Sherman MD said...

Anon, I do not know how long ago this occurred, but no matter the time lag, you should send your complaint to your urologist where it will do the most good.
A couple years ago I asked my urologist why they had no men working there. He said that many men were embarrassed by the female assistants, even commenting that older women seemed to be less embarrassing. He said they used to have a man working there, but they weren't able to replace him. But I don't think they tried very hard. When I went this year though, I noticed that there were two men working there.
So these complaints can and do make a difference. Women get more consideration in large part because they are more willing to complain. It doesn't take many complaints before physicians reevaluate their practice and make changes to accommodate patients.

Joel Sherman MD said...

This comment was posted to Part 1 by Anonymous which is full. So I have moved it here:

Having read some (not all) the posts... some I agree with some NOT. I am one of the MEN that feel distraught at the perplexities of MALE ONLY examining men. I personally prefer the female face that close to/examining male genitals... not a comfortable place for another man's face... if someone is to poke me rectally, it had better be female. Again I prefer the female (gender) medical examiners; as they seem less infatuated with the "angle of a man's dangle". I have had to display my naked self "completely" with the female medical exqaminer less frequently, than with their male counterparts (I'm 64 and have physicals every year). Still required to turn head and cough... but... the display of one's "willie" is NOT deemed Priority ONE! The last female (gender) medical examiner told me "It's totally doctor preference" (the degree of exposure)- she read each line of the Federal Regulations, as she continued the exam - B.P. was under control for the first time in many exams and no problems were detected. Whether "The Man" is satisfied with a "lockerroom SHOW'r" or a "Bedroom GROW'r" depends on where "THE MAN" must nakedly display his... self-esteem.
Though doctor's and Nurses state THEY Don't see him "THAT WAY"... THIS MAN DOES! And he is the one on display. The preference of a female (gender) medical examiner, is NOT to nakedly display one's self for/to a woman --- It IS however "NOT" to display one's self nakedly to another male... YEAH... THAT!

Joel Sherman MD said...

Anon, at least 20% of men feel like you do, though hard data is sparse and hard to come by. The reasons vary and include homophobia, a history of sexual abuse by a man or simply some believe a woman has a softer touch. Some women also prefer opposite gender care. I am in favor of preferences being granted whenever possible.

Anonymous said...

Hello, and thank you for this site!

I am wondering about some information I have seen recently on yahoo concerning a female coach having her office next to the boys (14-17 yrs) and her door open so she could view them being naked in the locker room/shower. The question came from a mother, and it seems legit, but with yahoo, you never know. Here is the mother’s post (it is from three years ago. Then there is the most voted for response, which I thought was absolute nonsense and ill advice I have ever seen. It is post below.
“Son has female swim coach?
I am just a little concerned because my son is a freshman this year and he has a female swim coach. Practice started 2 weeks ago and yesterday was the parent orientation. She seemed very nice and everything and no other parents seemed to have any concerns so I didn't speak up.
I asked my son about it and was kind of shocked to find out that she has an office adjoined to their locker room. My son said nonchalantly that she sees him naked all of the time. He said it was weird at first but she told him that it was "nothing she hadn't seen before" and he feels more comfortable now. I just know that I wouldn't really want a man teacher seeing me naked in the locker room and I don't want some lady looking at my son's penis when she is supposed to be just a coach. Do I have any legitimate concerns? or is this normal these days?”


By vote:

“If she's professional than I don't see why in the world she'd be sneaking peaks at your sons pecker. Like she said, she's seen it all before she's probably use to it by now. Its probably not right of her to do it - but if she's not standing there staring all the time and keeps her eyes to herself - than I wouldn’t be worried.

I think guys would prefer to have a female around them than have a male. I think it's always different when a male sees females naked as apposed to females seing males naked. Guys try and play on it a little, trying to be the tough guy with the bigger .... But if your son says that she doesnt pay any attention to their downstairs, keeps eye contact and looks away - than personally i wouldnt care. But if she is delibrately walking in when they are getting changed or having a shower - knowing they'll be naked, instead of coming in after about 20mins to give them the time to change, than thats where i would be rather concerned and id probably drown her... They should be gentleman and cover up anyway!”

Then another responder says:
“When my girlfriend and I were coaching interns at a coed summer baseball camp a few years back, we had a similar set up with the office overlooking the shower area (the whole facility was not a modern one). Girls and boys alternated the times using the lockerrom facilities; 8-14 year olds.

It was no big deal for us either. But we understood that the boys were embarrassed by the setup. So after the first day we went out and bought some venetian blinds on our own dime and hung them over the interior windows and door to give the boys some privacy while they showered. After the boys should have had enough time to dress, we still made sure to announce ourselves before walking thru and into the lockerroom/changing area.

Sure, there would be rare times when some temporary embarrassment for the boys was unavoidable (such as when a potentially serious head injury from a slip-and-fall occurred and needed immediate attention or when the odd fight needed broken up).

That swim coach probably shouldn't be so casual about observing the boys' nudity. Sounds like she's around your naked son w/o legitimate purposes to be attended to.

But if your son's swim coach is a professional, there shouldn't be any problems. Besides, you probably have more to worry about with some of the male coaches these days being around your son while he's naked than a female coach seeing him.”

Anonymous said...

Continued...

My thinking is that these two female coaches should have taken measures BEFORE camp commenced to ensure the privacy of the boys attending. Also, what right do they have to rush into a fall in the room or a fight – these boys are naked, some are fully developed males! They could have gone for a male, as I am sure there would have been some at the camp, or better yet, the camp admin should have had a male coach and a female coach, not two female coaches. Then the poster says they saw the boys naked, but they (coaches) did not think much of it. Pardon me! This is not about YOU, it is about the boys modesty and right to privacy. It kills me when women say Oh male nudity does not bother me, I do not look at them sexually. Again, give me a break. Women do not look at males sexually – they most certainly do. There are so many women that stare at men’s crotches and butts, specifically go to movies that have male full frontal nudity. Speaking of the subject of male nudity in main stream movies, why is it that a. no labia are seen in movies, but men’s penises and testicles are shown, and why does a breast shown rate ‘R’ and a penis at “PG” rating? I mean for heaven’s sake, even an animated movie such as the Simpson’s shows Bart naked with penis in full view. How would that have gone over if his sister had her labia shown? I am really sick of this double standard!!!
Okay, so in the case of the teacher. Has anyone heard of this type of thing going on, is it real? Because if it is, we have a BIG problem. Would not the school admin not know of this and stop it? I also have a problem with the OP. I mean, what is she even asking this question for? If it was her daughter and a male coach, would she be asking the question, or just go to the school admin. Also, her son I think could be too embarrassed and be putting on a show about not caring that a female coach ogles him while he is nude.

Anonymous said...

Continued...

Another one: Guest3070 responding if a women should be allowed into a boy’s locker room while they are nude. http://www.talkqueen.com/Should-females-gym-teachers-be-allowed-in-boys-locker-room-q160326

“This depends on your culture. I´m an American 15 year old boy, curently doing a 6 month exchange at a high school in Finland. Here, its very common for women sports teachers to come into the boys changing room. Our swimming teacher is a youngish woman (22), and she will come in and check our names off, and do other paper work while we are having a shower and changing. None of the Finnish boys even notice her (I mean, she´s sitting right there, so you can´t really fail to notice her, but they take no notice). Nobody bothers to cover up their penises. Once a month she makes a note of our weight, and for that we stand on the weighing machine while she´s sitting directly behind, with a close-up view of every boy´s bare butt. Likewise, nobody thinks twice about it. There´s no right or wrong about this, it just depends on what you´ve grown up with.”
I mean, really, how outrageous. Is it allowed for the male coach to enter the girl’s locker room while they are nude, weigh them nude? I haven’t found it yet. Maybe someone here might know? Or is this also another case of global gender inequality and the expense of boys and men? One thing about it I did see was this Finland issue:
“Yes, that's quite normal here in Finland, and I think also in the other Nordic countries. If you go to the main pool in a town on a schoolday, you will find: 1. the pool is shared between schools and general public 2. the teacher in charge of schools will come into the changing room to give out messages etc., even if the teacher is a woman. 3. Nobody minds, neither the boys students nor the general public customers. 4. Once a month or about, the teacher is expected to check the students weights, and for this they will normally stand without clothes on the weighing scale while the teacher writes down the weight. This means almost all high-school students here will have be seen naked by a woman teacher from time to time.”

Anonymous said...

Also on the same site http://www.misterpoll.com/forums/105942/topics/184293/pg/2:
“yeah this is happening all over the world it seems from what im reading here and what goes on in my gym class this year im in 9th grade..we have a female gym teacher in like her 30s who always makes a point of it to see the boys shower, like she says remember to shower before your next class boys! you see our class is mostly all girls and only 7 boys and when shes in the gym teachers office there is a window so the teacher can make sure we are not fooling around since its all male teachers and shes the only female but she always goes in by the window and has the blinds down around half way and she puts her head down pretending shes doing paper work type stuff in her office when I look over but then when I glance over most times I can see her fully watching us shower. Its kind of creepy why she wants to watch little boys shower when shes like 30somthin maybe she thinks we are cute? dunno but the other boys shower faster now then go so she only sees them a bit but it takes me a bit longer since I wash my hair after gym and its embarassing since shes like ten feet away if that far and she always watches me dunno what to do? we thought about telling like the principale but he might just say we are liars and if he tells other teachers we will look like weirdos and we are all embaressed to tell parents or anything so thers like nothing we can do..dunno she already saw me naked int he shower this long right so if she wants to keep watching its nothing she has not alredy seen so i wont mind i guess if she wants to watch that much ut its strange knowing she watches me shower..thanks for letting me tell my being seen naked by female gym teacher thing, if anyone has advice or things i could do it would be cool thanks!”

If all of this is true, this situation is totally unacceptable.
I can understand (somewhat) the Finland situation, but still, if the field is not equal with men also doing this, then the male Fins need to wise-up.
Also, what is up with a mother entering he men’s change room at the swimming pool to dress her 7year old son. Men are nude, taking a shower and she just waltzes in! Take him to the womens change room – he is only 7. Some men on a site think it is okay (a surprising number), others do not! I once saw this when I was a boy. So embarrassing. I mean come on guys who think it is okay – it is NOT okay. If you think it is okay, so what, other’s do not. The reverse would never happen, the father would be yelled at by all the women, and he would most likely be arrested.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this.

Anonymous said...

Compare the story of the woman cleaning the men's locker room (while its in use) at Urban Active gym to this story of a Redwood City man in the female locker room. He was convicted of misdemeanor peeping, and sentenced to 20 days in jail but no charges were filed against the UA woman.

http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county/ci_19169585

Anonymous said...

I don't know what country's military service this is (the accent sounds Aussie or Kiwi maybe) but they admit forced male nudity is deliberate and for psychological reasons. Very disturbing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6uFh4jvG3I

Joel Sherman MD said...

I have no idea what the origin of this video is, or whether it is real or not.
If real, the recruits are probably applicants for some special forces.

Doug Capra said...

Joel: My understanding is that this is a real video based on a documentary series made in Australia. In don't think there's any question that this kind of strategy is sometimes used in military contexts, under the assumption that it will psychologically toughen up soldiers or, find out if they are not tough enough. I don't necessarily question that assumption. It may be true. What I do question is why it isn't also used on female troops, assuming it works. That's where the double standards exists. Captured female troops in today's world would need just as much toughness to undergo what they will probably undergo.

Joel Sherman MD said...

Here's an interesting thread on allnurses where a male nurse being treated at a VA hospital complains about the exposure he was subjected to without his permission.

Joel Sherman MD said...

This is a link to a site on male sexuality which many will find offensive as it has much male nudity. Other posts on the site undoubtedly concern homosexuality and bisexuality. So be warned.
Nonetheless I am giving the link because it has some interesting observations on nudity in America as it relates to men and how it has changed through the years, indeed, in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Interesting link about the changes in attitude toward locker room nudity with the generations. I'm in my mid-sixties and swam in pools in NY Y's and all-men schools where guys swam in the nude. I've gained weight and the towels that they provide at the gym often pop off if I try to fasten them around my wasted, so I generally just have my towel over my shoulder if I'm on my way to the shower or shaving at the sink. My penis looks shorter to me nowadays as a result of the weight, but frankly it would be stupid to have my towel dropping to the wet floor in the shower area. I am somewhat puzzled by the young guys who keep their towels around their waists and pull on their underwear up under their towels. Maybe it is the comfort level with nudity in non-sexual matter of fact situations that has helped me take things in stride with a great many medical procedures and exams since being diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer 6 years ago. I have only sought out male doctors who have been the only person in the exam room for exams. But for brachytherapy, catheterization, and cystoscopies my doctors have always, thank God, had assistants when they needed them. They have always been women, frequently pretty women my daughter's age or younger. I'm not sure they are nurses, but I always address them as nurses. If I know the doctor has the nurse focusing on my genitals, I avoid looking at them so as not to make eye contact. None of the nurses has ever struck me as unprofessional. I have never said or done anything like refuse to drop my shorts when the doctor told me to while a female nurse was in the room that would result in a reply like, "it's not as if we have never seen one beofre". I am willing to trade off minor embarassment for the good and respectful care that I've received. Dan

Anonymous said...

Not long ago I was in the hospital for a day surgery procedure. After recovery they wheeled me back to my day surgery staging room (curtained off area) where my wife was waiting. They told my wife the anesthesia would make me forgetful and not remember much for the rest of the day. The nurse told me that they wanted me to try to go to the bathroom to urinate, then left the room to return a bit later. I tried to get up but couldn’t. The gown they used for my surgery was a heavy paper backed with plastic. During my procedure it got moved many times and now was tangled up in my legs. It was also wet with some blood, so I tore it off, and had my wife help me get my boxers on. I was still sitting on the bed with nothing but my boxers on when the nurse returned. She had another nurse in tow along with her as they were stopping by my room on the way to check on another patient. They asked if I was ready to try to get down to the restroom, which was about fifty feet down the hall of the day surgery unit. I said yes, but would need some help getting dressed for the walk down. One nurse said it would be perfectly fine to just walk down in my underwear. I was still quite groggy but was aware enough to know the hallway was quite busy, and said repeated that I needed to put something on. Again, nurse #1 reiterated it was not necessary to get dressed, proceeded to remove my IV bag from the tower and handed it to me. She said “Just go ahead and walk down there like that.” I was still sedated and had to go quite badly so at the time I was not all that concerned. If not for the medication I no doubt would have been, but lacked the capacity to argue. I said fine, and started to get up. As I did nurse #2 quipped in “Besides, it will give you a chance to show off your chest.” Even when heavily drugged, that did not seem right. I turned around to see if I heard what I thought I did. None of them, not even my wife reacted in any way, so I assumed I heard it wrong. I wandered down to the john and back, and eventually went home. The next day after all the anesthesia wore off more details of the day before came back to me. I asked my wife if I really did go all the way down to the restroom in my underwear like I thought. Indeed I did. I asked also if a showing off my chest comment happened. It did just as I recalled. I asked my wife “Didn’t you think that was inappropriate?” She said no, the nurse was just joking and the ones who joked around were better than the ones that didn’t. It was no big deal. I didn’t feel the same way, I think it was BS. How long would a male nurse been employed if he sent a female patient down the hall in her underwear and assured her it was OK because she could show off her legs?
Scott

Joel Sherman MD said...

I agree with your opinion of the incident, Scott. No, a male nurse would likely not have gotten away with a comment like that, at least not if the patient was offended and complained. Sexist comments are inappropriate, especially when patients are not fully alert yet.
But your wife did express a likely more common reaction, that it was no big deal. My guess is that most patients, both men and women, would not make an issue of a nurse's attempt to be jovial, even if misguided.

StayingFit said...

I would agree with you, Dr. Sherman, that many people would not complain about a joke, even though it was inappropriate. However, it seems to me that, in this case, the nurse was not joking. Walking down the hall and "showing off his chest" is precisely what she made Scott do. Also, an attempt at humor may have been ignored, except that Scott, even while still somewhat sedated, had already expressed his discomfort at being required to wander the floor while barely clothed.

It seems to me that all three women in that room behaved poorly. Most likely, this was from a misguided belief that men are not modest, or that their modesty is something to "joke" about.

This is a continuing theme in many of the posts that I have read, concerning the way that men are treated in medical settings. We see it with mothers who continue to take their sons to a female pediatrician, whom they like so well, even after the boy has reached adolescence, never stopping to wonder if he is still comfortable being seen by that doctor. We see it when a male urologist includes his female nurse during all proceedings, irrespective of whether her presence is required, or if it causes needless embarrassment to the patient. And, sadly, we see it in the behavior of the two nurses in Scott's story, at least one of whom should have addressed his obvious discomfort.

Scott, I'm sorry to say that your wife's behavior troubles me most of all. Knowing, as she did, how vulnerable you were, she should have come to your defense, as soon as you objected to roaming the halls without being properly dressed. I'm sure that she would have expected you to defend her, had the situation been reversed.

This just shows how deeply ingrained are the stereotypes regarding men's feelings. We aren't supposed to have any. So, when we show them, they are something to be "joked" about, and never properly considered or addressed.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time follower and occasional poster on medical blogs. A year ago I had a urological surgery at a local city hospital. I was absolutely stunned by the attention and emphasis that was focused upon my modesty because this is never the case. Even though I never made mention of exposure concerns they treated me like the most modest person in the world, which was good. Later I noticed my "exit scorecard" had lots of questions about them respecting modesty. It was a job measureable, not just somthing these people were doing for my own good. As a long time athlete I have become used to the undressing, showering, etc in the open, so I dont feel like I am an overly modest person. For me, the problem I have with medical personnel is the disrespect. Disrespect plays heavily in the modesty issue as well because of the way patients are treated in regard to their nudity. My time spent in athletics has also shown me this absurd stereotype of "guys are not modest" is a 125% self serving load of crap. It is an excuse for them not to have to make any effort. I know for a fact that many men are indeed quite modest. I have known a lot of guys without a stitch of modesty, and many that were very much bothered by just having to strip down to their underwear momentarily in front of other guys. Claiming modesty in men is just not somthing they need to be concerned about is another example of the disrespect. Anyway, I began experiencing big time testicular pain so my urologist orders up an ultrasound. Swell. I get sent to a "sono tech in a box" imaging center. Volumes of blog entries swam in my head as I wondered how this experience would go. In my hour plus wait I notice there are four male techs taking people back today. That made me feel a bit better knowing I had a male. Well guess who takes the opportunity to show up at my slot, the first woman I had seen since I got there.On the way back I mention, "I waited for an hour, are you the only sono tech today?" No, she says, we are fully staffed. Then confirms the nature of my visit. I take the opportunity to ask, "for personal procedures like this dont you try to match the gender of the patient and tech?" The answer will no doubt shock all of you. "Well, for women we do but you know how guys are". Actually yes I do know how guys are, they have feelings like everybody else. She takes that moment to bolt out for somthing important, obviously seeing where it was going. Like I said, its not her being a woman, or having to be exposed, its the disrespect that sets me off. As instructed I strip waist down and cover with the narrow sheet that covered just enough, but exposed the scrotum. She knocks and waits for me to acknowledge her in, closes the door and brings no assistant. All was going well. She says she will get me a towel to cover the penis, pulls off the paper sheet, throws it away, walks over to the cabinet, gets a towel, folds it at the tableside, and covers me with it. I was wondering, "what the hell is the point of covering me back up now?" Near the end, she wanted me to find the painful lump. Lying flat I couldnt, so she says try standing up. I stand up holding the towel on me to keep my penis out of the way and also to keep the gel from getting all over me while I locate the testicle lump with the other hand. She is sitting there beside me on her stool intently watching, then says "let me take that towel", and pulls it out of my hand. She then resumes her position sitting there two feet away watching me grope around for the lump. Even with a lower than average modesty level, it didnt feel right. When we were done she says clean up and get dressed, and I will take you back up front. Then stands there waiting, obviously not going to leave the room for me to do it. I absolutely felt like a slab of meat. Being treated like an unfeeling, uncaring object that possessed no human feeling what so ever. This seems to be the "standard of care" foe male health care.
Mike

Joel Sherman MD said...

Thanks Mike. I think you should have spoken up further and requested a male tech. Nothing will ever change unless men speak up.
It's not to late though to send your comments to the head of the laboratory. They really need to know that some men DO CARE and should be offered the same courtesies as women.
I will also post your comment on my article blog on male modesty.

Anonymous said...

JB in Connecticut

I had a heart attack at work. I was rushed to Yale New Haven Hospital. In a brightly lit side chamber with direct access to the busy hall and no door, I was surrounded by male Resident MDs and/or male nurses who held a gown as they removed pants and underwear. I was still exposed to my family in the hallway but at least they made an effort. They volunteered that the Male surgeons were not available and I would be seen by Dr S. I didn't care about the gender of the doctor and assumed there would be plenty of female staffers, aren't there always? Yale's rep was good enough for me and I expected excellent service and professionalism. I was a little concerned that I not tent an erection in front of a gang of women and girls, that turned out not to be a problem.

I was wheeled into the OR where two female MDs performed the procedure: Femoral Cath to insert stent intro the right side- auricle. The gown was pulled up to my waist and I was exposed to them and the two female med students present (Yale is a teaching Hospital). The Kids didn't gawk In fact they made Eye contact (the doctor's didn't) smiled and scurried off to do whatever it was they were doing (away from the table). While uncomfortable I basically grinned and "Bared" it, glad I remained flaccid (the BP meds probably made that a foregone conclusion but I didn't know then).

I remained awake (I had insisted) so I could view the Video screen and see what was going on with my heart. The assistant who actually did the cath was an Asian girl who recently joined the hospital. She seemed embarrassed as she neither looked at my face nor my genitals inches to her left but maintained a frozen silly grin on her face throughout the procedure.

I pretty much thought everything was normal: No privacy, No draping No Modesty, no respect; Hey its surgery and you're just a slab of meat, a slab that hopes to go home at the end of it so let them do their thing and modesty be damned.

Then the male resident who seemed to be leader in the O/R reappeared. He gave the surgeon a dirty look and covered my groin with the antiseptic cleaning cloth he used to prep me. It was the first indication to Me I wasn't being respected by the Surgeon and perhaps NOT proper procedure. On the downside, It was very cold and wet and almost gave me another heart attack. I would have preferred to remain exposed rather than take that shock but was grateful for his consideration (which I never expressed to him before now, regrettably).

I saw the surgeon a month later in the hospital cafeteria. I was about to go over and thank her for helping save my heart when she held up her little pinky. I almost responded in kind by holding up 7 fingers (ie: me when NOT flaccid) or holding my hands flat on my chest (She was not shapely) but decided against making a scene in public. My wife was outraged that a doctor would intentionally mock a patient, especially as it could have upset me so soon after an attack.

As I stood there for a moment not responding I did think of the Seinfeld comedy where Costanza is seen by a pretty girl naked after swimming then harps about "shrinkage" to everyone. After the initial shock and rejecting any "in kind" responses, I was mostly amused. Being me, I had assumed she was just flirting: Eye contact, head cock, followed by a challenge : Bar hook-up etiquette. I guess I have no ego issues, naked or not as I turned and walked away thinking "Yes but you'll never see me erect you silly twit".

Many men do not seek care for fear of being viewed, judged and ridiculed by women medical personnel. Few of us are buff even if one's genitalia are not an issue. The gawking, rough handling, comments, snickers and disrespect received from Female doctors and staff is undoubtedly a factor in the epidemic refusal of males to get timely treatment.

So I decided to share here.

Joel Sherman MD said...

JB, I would think it would be routine for the staff to have put a towel over your groin except in the area of the actual puncture site which would be off to the side. That is certainly how it's done anywhere I've done cardiac caths. The patient should never be exposed for more than a few minutes to prep the site.
From your description I can't tell if the procedure was done by a cardiologist or perhaps a fellow. (If you email me the name of the doctors involved, I could probably look it up as I am near Yale.)
I do admit though that I have trouble interpreting what the doctor really meant when she wagged her little finger at you. I really can't imagine that she intended a sexual reference.
At any rate you should feel free to lodge a complaint with the hospital if the incident was recent.

StayingFit said...

JB, I think that I know why the assistant who performed the cath looked embarrassed, and why the resident who covered you looked so annoyed. It's because, just as Dr. Sherman states, the standard procedure would have been to keep you covered as much as possible. I suspect that everyone else in the room knew this. The reason for their discomfort was empathy for you, along with some concern for their own sensibilities.

But, I think the biggest issue was that they very much wanted to cover you, but were afraid to take any action. To do so might seem like implied criticism of the surgeon, and this they did not want to risk. The resident, however, had more confidence that what he was doing was correct, and he did not fear offending the surgeon. In fact, it sounds like he let the surgeon know, subtly, that she had offended him!

As for her waving at you with her pinky finger, I don't blame you for believing that this was meant as an insult. It is a common gesture that younger women, especially, use to indicate that a man has a small penis. Since this surgeon did not respect your dignity enough to cover you, and since her methods were quietly rebuked by the others in that room (and maybe not so quietly after you were gone), she might very well have had some resentment towards you, and she certainly doesn't seem above a petty insult.

At the same time, it might have been meant as a mild greeting. One that would acknowledge you, but that would not encourage you to come over and chat. She may have been distracted, and might simply have not wanted company. Also, if she had been holding something like a cup at the time, such a small gesture would be natural, and innocent.

I think that your bigger issue is the way that you were treated during the cath. I would focus on that and file a complaint with the hospital.

Joel Sherman MD said...

This comment was posted to part one and did not get printed as it is full. I have reposted it here:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Male Modesty Violations, A Special Case?":

I will not go to a doctors office or the hospital out of fear of being humiliated by female medical staff or their female admin staff posing as chaperones.

I have literally been insulted when I ask for the same rights as women with regards to bodily privacy - and it has now affected my attitude towards women in general - especially feminists.

Has anyone ever looked in to this as maybe one of the reasons as to why men refuse to seek medical attention when sick?


That question is mostly what this post is about. There have been some studies but not much. References are scattered thru here.

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