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


Tips For Modest Male Patients

Many times doctors unnecessarily use female nurses or assistants as chaperones during an intimate procedure. This practice causes embarrassment for male patients. In some cases a female assistant stays to observe and/or take notes while the male patient is undressed. Male patients should speak up and ask for a private exam with the doctor.

If a doctor or a hospital will not accommodate your modesty wishes or wishes for male medical personnel exclusively, you should go somewhere else even if it means traveling farther. Look at an example of a man from Maine who traveled to Utah for an Urolift procedure because he found an urologist willing to do an in-office procedure with the help of a male physician’s assistant.

Patients whose modesty wishes are not accommodated should write a letter to that hospital and doctor explaining that the procedure was done elsewhere because of this. It’s time for hospitals and medical professionals to recognize that male patient modesty is as important as female patient modesty. If male patients speak up for their modesty wishes and refuse care from female medical personnel, the more likely facilities and doctors will hire more male nurses, techs, etc. to accommodate these requests.

We encourage men reading this article to print the article, How Urologists Can Be More Sensitive to Men's Modesty? and share it with urologists.

Important Tips:

1.) Find a male doctor who is sensitive to patient modesty, one who will protect patient privacy as much as possible. Consider interviewing a doctor about his stance on patient modesty before allowing him to conduct intimate examinations. Explain to the doctor that having female nurses or assistants present for procedures that involve private parts is not an option. If the doctor has no male nurses or assistants, ask if he can conduct intimate procedures, such as a vasectomy without assistance.

2.) Do not be pressured into having a random genital or rectal exam at doctor appointments. For instance, if the appointment is for a sore throat, do not tolerate a doctor lecturing about the importance of having a genital, prostate, or rectal exam. Remind the doctor of the purpose for the visit (ex: a sore throat).

Keep in mind that genital exams are often unnecessary unless you have urological symptoms or a genital injury. You have the right to refuse genital or rectal exams at any time.

4.) If possible, take along a trusted person (preferably your wife) for doctor appointments, which require genital or rectal exams. This mitigates the possibility of abuse and provides a witness during the appointment to any instructions and recommendations given. If the doctor refuses to allow the accompanying person—leave.

5.) If anything is uncomfortable during an exam or procedure, speak up and stop the exam or procedure.

6.) Don't undress or don a medical gown when it is unnecessary and/or the situation is uncomfortable. Most procedures and tests—including blood tests; blood pressure tests; stethoscope heart exams; eye, ear, nose and throat examinations; as well as throat cultures—can be performed fully clothed. If the appointment is for an infection or suspicious skin spot, uncover only the necessary body part. Consider wearing shorts or other type garments. Think in advance what would be more accommodating and helpful for the examination, limiting patient exposure and embarrassment. Be aware that if you must undergo a venous ultrasound on your legs, you may be ordered to remove your underwear. This is unnecessary. This can be done with your underwear on. Be advised that you will be given a sheet to wrap your groin in. Demand that you be allowed to position the sheet yourself and that the technician is not in the room while you prepare yourself. You can also demand that the technician is a male.

7.) Research your procedure. An increasing number of procedures can be performed in a more relaxed office setting with only a local anesthetic. Yet some doctors will not offer patients this option due to the amount of money hospitals make off surgeries conducted in operating rooms. If general anesthesia is required, insist that a family member or a friend be present for the procedure for patient protection. Patients who are under general anesthesia are extremely vulnerable, exposed, and defenseless. Many patients are routinely and unnecessarily stripped naked for surgeries. A patient having hand surgery had his gown and underwear removed after he was put under anesthesia. He found this out when he woke up in the middle of surgery. Another patient who had a venous ablation procedure was horrified to learn that he had the disposable underwear hospital staff gave him removed and his groin shaved while he was sedated even though incisions were made around the knee only. He was also livid to learn afterwards that his procedure is more commonly performed in an office setting with a local anesthetic instead of in an operating room with sedation. Check out Why You Should Have a Personal Advocate For Surgery?

8.) If hospitalization is necessary, have someone who is not employed by the hospital to be continually present, especially when you are asleep or drowsy. Many men are more comfortable with their wives bathing them than a nurse, so this should always be an option for them. If a nurse or aide must assist you with bathing, ask for a male.

9.) Refuse a urinary catheter be inserted unless it is absolutely necessary. Many unnecessary urinary catheterizations are done and with serious complications. If catheterization is required, request a male nurse.

10.) Insist on a male ultrasound technician for scrotal ultrasounds and other ultrasounds that require exposure of genitals.

11.) During procedures request that the doctor put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door and/or close the room’s curtain. Sometimes medical personnel randomly enter exam rooms during intimate procedures.

12.) If you are the parent or guardian of a boy, do not assume that he is safe from sexual abuse! Always have a responsible adult not employed by the clinic or hospital, preferably a parent, with the boy for all examinations and procedures. Advocate for his privacy as well, regardless of his age. Even if your child is a toddler, respect for his privacy and his bodily autonomy must be enforced. If you agree he needs the procedure, assist the medical professionals to communicate to him this is necessary in any way you can. Genital / hernia exams are not necessary for sports physicals.

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