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


Why Patient Modesty is a Serious Issue?

One young woman shared this with MPM about her grandmother: "My grandmother went several years without seeing an OB/GYN and she was having a lot of pain, swelling, cramping. When she had put it off as long as she could and went to the doctor because she could no longer stand it, she ended up with a male physician. I knew my grandmother very well. She was extremely modest about her body and that is the reason she went so long without seeing a doctor. When she finally went, she was so desperate for medical care, she took the male doctor even though I am sure she wanted a female doctor and that day found out she had stage 4 cervical cancer. It was inoperable and a year later she died." This is truly a tragedy and shows just how serious this issue is. Think about how many women who could have had precancerous cervical cells burned off their cervixes but have avoided going to the doctor because there were no female doctors around or they could not be assured that no men would be present for their procedure.

How many rape victims may have been exposed to Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer? Many rape victims do not want to see a male doctor under any circumstances. This is a serious issue because it is important for those women to get regular pap smears and without the assurance of a female ob/gyn, they may not make an effort to get them done in a timely fashion.

Modesty problems are not isolated to only male physicians. There can also be issues with female doctors, so we need to educate them also on the importance of modesty for certain patients. For example, one lady was very upset that a female doctor’s examining room was in a cubicle with a window with curtains and blinds that didn’t sufficiently cover the opening. This posed a huge risk of someone accidentally seeing certain parts of this woman’s body.

The scenario of the Emergency Room also poses unique issues. Some women have gone to the ER with severe abdominal pain and have had to walk out of the ER without getting treatment because only male doctors were available. Hospitals, especially in bigger cities usually have female doctors available, but there is a very serious problem with some smaller town hospitals and clinics.

Some men have backed out of having a vasectomy because they could not be guaranteed that no female assistants or nurses would participate in the surgery. This is bad because vasectomy is a safe, permanent birth control solution for couples finished having children.

Some people have refused to have important surgeries and they ended up with disabilities because they were concerned that their wishes for patient modesty would be violated. This is ridiculous, but some patients have their underwear taken off unnecessarily for certain surgeries such as knee, wrist, carpal tunnel, etc. Imagine how many people may suffer pain that could be cured by surgery, but they did not feel they could proceed with the surgery since they could not get any guarantees that their wishes for patient modesty would be respected.




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