Medical Patient Modesty - a non-profit organization to improve patient modesty in medical settings


What You Should Know About All-Female OB/GYN Practices?

Many women go to all female OB/GYN practices because they want to avoid male doctors. But many women are unaware that there is still a chance that they could end up with a male doctor for emergencies or the birth of their child if the practice rotates with other practices that have at least one male doctor. Also, sometimes all-female OB/GYN practices hire a male doctor without telling patients. Female gynecologists in an all-female practice will refer women to a male gynecologic oncologist sometimes if it is suspected she might have gynecologic cancer and this takes many women off guard because they are so worried about having cancer. Check out Referral To Gynecologic Oncologist about how you should respond.

Medical Patient Modesty received a heartbreaking case from a woman in the United States who went to a wonderful all-female OB/GYN practice of 3 female doctors for many years that she trusted. She had a yeast infection that would not go away so she made an appointment with her doctor’s office. She was informed that her regular doctor was not available but that another doctor could see her. She said ok because the other 2 doctors in the practice were females and she assumed she would see a female doctor. She went in the examining room and took her panties off and put on a gown in anticipation of a female doctor coming in. A nurse was present. This lady was so shocked when a young male doctor came in. He had just joined the practice a few months earlier. He did everything so quickly and sexually abused her. The nurse was so shocked. After the lady left, the nurse reported what happened. The three female doctors were very upset about what happened and they regretted hiring that male doctor. The practice consulted with their lawyers and decided to compensate the lady for what happened rather than going to trial due to bad publicity they would get. The practice fired the doctor and reported him to the Board of Medicine. The practice also offered to pay for any psychological services the lady needed. No amount of money can take away the sexual abuse the lady suffered. The lady asked her female doctor why they hired a male doctor when many women come to the practice because it was an all-female practice. The female doctor replied by saying that they wanted to increase their patient base for women who preferred a male gynecologist.

The above case shows you that an all-female ob/gyn practice could hire a male doctor without many patients knowing. An all-female practice that chooses to hire a male doctor should notify all patients if they hire a male doctor because many women flock to an all-female ob/gyn practice to avoid the chance of having a male doctor. This case also proves that a nurse cannot prevent a male doctor from abusing women. Check out Do Chaperones Really Protect Patients?

There should always be informed patient consent for pap smears and other gynecological examinations. Women should never be forced to have a gynecological examination even by a female doctor

We encourage all women to take the following steps:

1.) Always make sure that you will have a female doctor or mid-level provider before you change into your gown even if your appointment was made with a female provider. A male doctor could fill in for a female provider at last minute without your knowledge.

2.) If your regular doctor is not available and you are given opportunity to make an appointment with another doctor, always confirm that the other doctor is female. Do not assume because the practice is all-female that a male doctor will never be hired. Remember that an all-female practice could become a mixed practice at any time. Practices do not always update their web sites immediately after hiring a new doctor so the physician listing could be outdated.

3.) Encourage your all-female ob/gyn practice to remain all-female practice. All-female practices need to know how important it is to not hire a male doctor. Many women do not want a male doctor for women’s health issues under any circumstances.

4.) Some female gynecologists allow male medical students to observe procedures so you need to have it in writing that you do not give consent to medical students being part of your appointments.

5.) Some female doctors allow high school students to do shadowing at appointments. See more information about shadowing on this article: Is physician shadowing harmful for patients?. Find out if the practice ever allows students to shadow doctors.

6.) Before you commit to an all-female practice for the birth of your child, ask some questions such as: 1.) Can I be guaranteed a female OB/GYN for the birth of my baby or emergencies if I select this practice? 2.) Does this practice rotate with other practices that have male doctors? Make sure you check out the steps you must take to ensure that you have an all-female team for the birth of your child.

7.) If you have cancer or possible cancer and your gynecologist refers you to a gynecologic oncologist, make sure that the referral is to a female gynecologic oncologist. Do not buy the argument that a male gynecologic oncologist is exempt since he is very skilled in helping with gynecologic cancers. A gynecologic oncologist often performs intimate procedures on women. Check out the article, Referral to a Gynecologic Oncologist.

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