Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reverse Sexism in OB/GYN

From the moment I was accepted to medical school, I began to get unsolicited advice about which specialty I should choose. The most common recommendation was OB/GYN. “Female OB’s are in such demand!” I was told on a regular basis. However,I had ZERO interest in becoming one of THOSE women. As I began my rotations, I realized that there was more to the specialty than pap smears and stereotypes. In time I embraced it as my calling.

The year I graduated (2005), 75% of OB/GYN residents nationwide were women. I don’t know today’s numbers, but some recent journal editorials have brought attention to the fact that there are fewer and men going into OB. As more and more practices are marketing themselves as “women only,” some male OB’s are beginning to cry, “Foul!” To some extent they are right.

When I made my appointment for my very first pap smear, I called every female doctor in our town, only to find them all on a 6 month waiting list for new patients. I begrudgingly went to see my male FP, and he was fantastic… well as fantastic as the person giving you a pap smear can be (not THAT fantastic). Some of the kindest and most compassionate OB/GYNs I know are male. Many of my mentors in residency were older male physicians, who would really take the time to teach, while the female attendings often hurried home to their families.

At the end of the day, when starting with a new physician, a lot of women just feel more comfortable with a female OB/GYN. I am part of an all female practice, and honestly that is beneficial to getting new patients in the door. A significant majority of our obstetrics patients will ask to confirm that there is no possibility of a male physician delivering them. I answer in the affirmative, but the answer makes me a little uncomfortable. "I prefer to see a woman because you KNOW what I'm going through" they will often tell me. As women, the ‘been there, done that factor’ can cut both ways. Yes, I do get pap smears and understand the discomfort of putting my junk in the literal spot light every year. I also worked 12 hours the days I delivered my baby, and find it hard to muster up compassion for the multiple complaints of my term pregnant patient who work a part time desk job.

Being a MIM is not easy, but honestly in my field it is an advantage. Is it in yours? These men are saying the current situation in OB is rife with discrimination. What do you think?

45 comments:

  1. My first pap was done by a male FP and I LOVED him. The experience was as pleasant as it could possibly have been. Several years ago, I called up a OB/GYN practice and asked for an appointment and they asked if I was OK with seeing a man. I was like, "Why wouldn't I be?" They gave me a male doctor and I again adored him.

    In my field (PM&R), I think being a woman is either neutral or a disadvantage. Possibly a disadvantage because I think it's harder to be respected as a young appearing female than as a young man, who can at least grow a beard or something. I feel like I get called "cute" way too often. When I'm older, it might not matter as much.

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  2. This is a good post - I like the larger point.

    I will say, though, that with up to 1 in 4 women in the US being sexually assaulted or abused during their life (almost always by males), I think the general prevalence of women preferring female doctors shouldn't be looked upon too harshly.

    Especially since, when asked why they prefer a female doctor, most would prefer to say something about "knowing what I'm going through" rather than recounting a traumatic story.

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  3. I had a great male OB who delivered both my babies. He was wonderful! I recently switched because I went to the ER and was told to follow up with my GYN to rule out cancer and he couldn't get me in for months...I got in with a female OB who was fresh from residency and didn't have such a packed patient load.

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  4. I've had both male and female OB/GYNs and never had any problems with either. I don't care who it is down there working away as long as they know what they are doing.

    For that matter, there's no guarantee that a female OB knows what I am going through since even if she has been pregnant before, the circumstances were certainly different. Playing Devil's Advocate an OB who had multiple easy pregnancies might be less sympathetic to a patient having a difficult one because in her experience pregnancy was a breeze.

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  5. Personally, I could care less who does my pap smear. My babies were both delivered by male OB/Gyns who were awesome. My current practice is a mix of male and female physicians, and I agree, they are much more lenient with work excuses and pain meds (and anxiety meds) and likely to tiptoe around patients with pregnancy and "womanly" complaints.

    The female physicians may be more empathetic, but less sympathetic, as we have "been there" and may not be so likely to coddle patients in that respect. Being pregnant was imminently helpful to my obstetric practice, however, as pretty much anything that could happen in pregnancy happened to me, so I can really understand a lot of what patients are explaining to me, while the guys can only imagine. I value my male partners, but the youngest of our group are all female, and our schedule is never empty (blessing? or curse?) I fear they are a dying breed, or, if the specialty splits to OB and GYN (would not surprise me), we may see those numbers bump up on the GYN side once again.

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  6. While I am sure that men are perfectly capable of being fabulous OB docs - I was delivered by a male OB - I much prefer seeing women. I just feel more comfortable talking to them about GYN issues. I suspect many guys probably feel the same way when they are looking for a urologist. Not being discriminatory - just honest. I echo apotential in not looking on that decision too harshly - whether sexual abuse is in the play or not.

    My daughter was delivered by a male OB - I had to switch at the last minute because my female OB delivered and was on maternity leave. He performed an episiotomy on me, and it was not discussed. Maybe necessary, but I would have liked to be a part of the decision. Nevertheless, I had a good outcome, so it is hard to complain.

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  7. Kellie (General Surgeon)May 24, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    Most of my GYN care and all my OB care was a male physician. My OB was wonderful and if I would ever be lucky enough to have another child, I'd want him. I think that in my experiences, male physicians have been more empathetic than female physicians. I loved my male RE.

    I did read the article and those people are right. If a group of male physicians marketed or recruited for MALE only physicians, would there not be an outcry of discrimination?

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  8. I have to wonder if a male patient called up any type specialty of practice and requested to see a man and refused to disclose the nature of his complaint (due to possible sensitivity of topic) I wonder what would happen...certainly not the response these women who call ob/gyn practices and refuse any care including emergency from a man...

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  9. When I go to student health to get my pap smear, I don't even have the option of seeing a male dr or np. This annoys me, and yes, I think there is a bit of reverse sexism going on. What if some women have a preference for a male dr? Is that preference invalid?

    On my Ob/Gyn rotation, there were several male residents and attendings, and all but one were completely wonderful. I cannot say the same for the females, although there were admittedly more of them.

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  10. I would never choose to go to a male. That was one of the worst parts of being in the hospital for delivery for me -- my baby was delivered by a male OB. I was so uncomfortable by this and it's all I could focus on. I am completely creeped out by male OBs and I know this is irrational because my brother is an OB and I know he's fantastic. For what it's worth, I have been sexually assaulted so I'm assuming that's what makes it so uncomfortable for me. I don't necessarily think a female doctor would understand better, but at least she wouldn't make me feel uncomfortable. I also think it's really interesting that this is posted the day some OB/GYN in the midwest is being charged with sexually abusing his patients.

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  11. As a patient I'm pretty shy and never would have thought I'd find myself actually preferring a male gyn doc over a female, but that's what wound up happening. Initially I was of the mindset that women would understand better.

    I've got a bladder disorder that makes paps pretty painful and after a particularly bad exam by a female NP (cranking on the spec is the only way I can describe what she did, despite my request to go slow and be gentle) I requested student health set my next appt. up with someone different. They only had a male available and I said I didn't care. He was the most gentle person ever. When I moved back home my family doctor did the next one and he was also very gentle. Sometimes I think men "not getting what it's like" might actually work to the patient's advantage.

    I do think some of the female providers I've seen seem to think that since it's no big deal to them after having had a few kids and a dozen or so paps that it shouldn't be a big deal to the patient. They might actually be less sympathetic.

    In the end I don't make gender requests and just plan to stick with someone who is gentle and professional when working with me.

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  12. Actually, I prefer to see male OB/GYNs, and I have seen a fair number of both male and female docs. I am a very upfront kind of person and patient, so I have absolutely no issues disclosing very intimate details and problems with a man or woman. At the end of the exam, they are a physician, first and foremost! And quite frankly, I have found the men (I've seen three) to be more gentle and more patient, whereas the women (I've seen four) have been hurried, rough, and pretty unresponsive to my questions. As far as the sexual abuse goes - I've always had a female nurse present in the room during my exam, I think just to make me feel comfortable.

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  13. I've moved around some and seen lots of primary care doctors, specialists and gynecologists all over the country. Regardless of gender, I have to say that ob/gyns rock! They've consistently taken the best histories and seemed the most attentive and, frankly, human. I am interested in the specialty as I apply to med school. I am a little fearful of what I hear from med students about their ob/gyn rotations - for some reason uniformly awful. But perhaps that is limited to the training - because in practice, I haven't in my own experience encountered better physicians.

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  14. While I'm comfortable with the idea of a male OB/GYN, I am very uncomfortable with the presence of a chaperone in the room, whether the chaperone remains completely silent (creepy) OR chit-chats with the physician (distracting and intrusive). Male OB/GYNs almost always use chaperones. I get this, but that's one major reason I won't use a male OB/GYN.

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  15. I go to an OB/GYN practice with both male and female doctors. My doctor is female, but I have worked with one other woman and both men. I am the type of person who is overeducated and highly involved, so that takes a certain personality to work with. I love my doc because she gives me lots of information, she answers my questions, she offers her opinion (which I greatly respect), and she is understanding on the rare occasions when I disagree with her. The other female doc is nice, but autocratic, with a tendency toward pronouncements of what we WILL do without making sure I am okay with it. One of the men has a laissez-faire approach and seemed either annoyed that he had to work with me or like he couldn't be bothered to notice I was there on every occasion I worked with him. The other male is kind and helpful and capable, but is difficult to get information out of; still, he is my second favorite of the docs in the practice. None of the characteristics that mattered to me had anything to do with gender.

    That said, I have a technical degree and work in a technical field that is largely populated by men. Most of my closest friends are male, and I've never been sexually assaulted. I can see that an assault would have a profound impact on someone's comfort around a male doctor. Even without an assault, though, there are many reasons why a woman would be more comfortable with a female GYN, not the least being that contact with our reproductive system is generally considered an intimate act, and sharing that with a male stranger is understandably uncomfortable for many women.

    I don't like to see discrimination based on gender, and I'd prefer to see men involved in pregnancy to the extent possible, because I think our culture is better off considering childbearing a joint effort; I think excluding male docs from OB care (and by extension, GYN) is an unhealthy step towards isolation and lack of understanding. That said, I also don't think it's reasonable to try to force someone who's uncomfortable with a doctor of the opposite gender (I'm including men with reproductive issues, etc.) to work with one.

    I don't see any easy answers here, but perhaps if I'm looking for a new doc at some point in the future, I'll be more consciously aware of the potential for discrimination.

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  16. Awwww, a poor man isn't totally privileged for the first time in his life! And notice how he expects women to take care of it for him?

    Were I to need a colonoscopy, surgery, or cancer care in my mid-size city, I couldn't get treated by a female physician. They're all male.

    When I hear that they're making an effort to recruit female physicians across fields, then I'll think about whether I need to worry about the occasional male who isn't a woman's first choice for a doctor. But you know, I'm guessing it's no accident that the various hospitals and groups in this city don't hire women.

    My mammogram? Can't be read by a woman here, either.

    (My first three paps were done by male physicians. Not a single one bothered to explain what was happening or why or anything. I didn't have another for 20+ years.)

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  17. I've had 4 different Ob/Gyns, plus quite a handful that came in to peek, or do whatever when there was an small emergency midway through my pregnancy. 2 were guys one was horrible, one was okay. Of the other 2 (obviously female) one was the worst, and one was amazing. However I still prefer a female, I'm still rather shy and so I feel more comfortable with a female. My mother in law says she prefers a male, especially since she doesn't have to worry about him getting pregnant and delivering at the same time as her. Really I don't think it's a big deal, and I don't feel too bad for the men. In my little valley most of the physicians, regardless of specialty are overwhelmingly men.

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  18. From what statistics say, about 25% - 30% of women have been sexually abused or raped, the vast majority by men.

    I am already terrified seeing a female OB/GYN and have been avoiding it since the first exam. Being put in the position to be examined by a male OB/GYN would certainly be even more traumatic (and yes, I am aware, that this individual male has not been abusing me and has the intention to help me). Though the situation is probably different with many women, I am sure many other abuse survivors feel the same. It's an irrational fear and is not based on being sexist but on trauma.

    (And yes, an exam with a female OB/GYN is also very scary and not fun either).

    My preference for female providers also exists in other fields such as general medicine or dentistry, not only OB/GYN.

    I think it only becomes a striking phenomenon in the OB/GYN sector as the clients are exclusively female.

    Instead of complaining about women being sexist, everybody should just respect that each and every woman should have the right to choose what person is touching her in her most private areas and is showing instruments into her! If there is more preference for female providers, so be it. Just stop assuming it is a sexist decision in nature!

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  19. The male residents in my OB/GYN training program do have to put up with some discrimination by patients, but they have a big advantage over the rest of us- the scrub nurses LOVE them.c

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  20. When I was a teenager, I was totally opposed to seeing a male OB/GYN. In my mid-20s when pregnant with my first baby and in a different city, it was easiest to get an appt with a male provider. He was absolutely fantastic, and in some ways, probably more sympathetic & gentle than many female providers. I am very disappointed to see the current trend in OB/GYN heading toward less and less male providers. Also, it seems that many of the male OB/GYN residents unfortunately end up doing GYN-ONC fellowships rather than staying in the OB world.

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  21. Gosh, what a difference a generation makes. When I was a young doctor you couldn't find female OB-GYNs, there just weren't very many. I drove to the next town to have babies with a female OB, whose pregnancies were fortunately in between mine. Then we moved away and over the years I've been to three females who varied considerably. However, when I needed a hysterectomy I picked a male (one advantage of being a PCP in the same place for a long time is you watch outcomes and get to know who's the best surgeon) and he is MUCH nicer than my last female OB.

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  22. I'm a male MS4. I applied to OB/gyn for residency. I loved my third year rotation. However I had a sort of epiphany during my acting internship that made me reconsider the field. I loved the patients and the work but I think it would have been difficult for me to work with my mostly female co-residents. During my AI, I definitely felt like an outsider. They were all great doctors, but I often felt like I didn't belong. I guess I encountered the female version of the "old boys club". Had there been at least a few other guys to work with, I might have had a different experience.

    It also seemed that most of the male attendings that I liked/respected had completed fellowships. I had no such intention, and only would have practiced general OB if given the chance. It seemed that the economics (or something else entirely) were driving the men to become subspecialists. I never asked why the men seemed to be going into fellowships more than the women. Furthermore, being already in my mid 30s, I couldn't see myself tacking on 3 more years to my training.

    I think if were younger (and sans wife and child) I would have probably pursued the field with more fervor. Who knows? The sad thing for me personally is that no other field is like OB/gyn and whatever I choose to do next will probably not be as fun or satisfying.

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  23. I am a female general internist. I chose my field out of a love of longitudinal relationships with patients and the sleuth-like problem-solving involved. In college, I did a research assignment in which I learned about what women went through to gain entrance into medical school (in sizable numbers) in the 1970s, and the specialty-discrimination that pushed women into pediatrics and psychiatry for years thereafter. I would hate for a male medical student who valued front-line patient interaction, patient relationships, and the opportunity to do procedural work to shy away from obstetrics out of the perception that female patients would not be interested in what he had to offer. Or worse, that he would not "fit in" with his colleagues. This is a throw-back to the 70s. Empathic relationship-building with patients, listening skills, and being technically adept are not gender-specific, and they can be modeled and taught to all medical students, regardless of sex or specialty.

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  24. I second what Anonymous said above. I hit a medical profession during the 70's and everything said is true, true, true..ah, the hoops we jumped through.

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  25. I agree that there is reverse sexism for male OB's. As a new graduate starting a residency in OBGYN, I've seen this particularly affect my male classmates during clerkship. Many of them were not welcomed by female patients and despite enjoying obstetrics were driven away by this.

    My OBGYN mentor as well as some of my favorite OB's to work with are male. In general I find them more compassionate and laid back than the female physicians. I've also heard them remark that they tend to get the psychologically easier patients to deal with as those with issues will often seek out females only.

    Jess PGY1 OBGYN

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  26. Sort of take exception to your statement that only "those with issues" seek out female doctors only, and to me this only underscores the fact that many men will simply not be able to fully appreciate being a female patient. And I'm not sure why, but so many OB/GYN residents seem so immature.

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  27. My husband used to work with someone who said he wouldn't "let" his wife go to a male ob/gyn. That was in 2002. The rest of the men at the table jumped all over this guy, but I don't think they changed his mind.

    I personally don't care. It's uncomfortable either way and I know that it really is just another body part.

    In terms of reverse sexism ... well, I suppose it's demand driving the supply? I know enough women who prefer female providers.

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  28. I will say one other things in support of preferring female OB/Gyn, both of my female OB/Gyns would tell me everything they were doing and exactly when to expect the pressure or pain. I loved being so well informed. I have never had a male OB/Gyn or male nurse even attempt to do this. Perhaps this is one reason that girls say a female Ob/Gyn can relate.

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  29. It's all about finding a doctor that you personally are comfortable with. For some that may be a woman, for others a man. However, I do feel bad for those male OB/GYN's who essentially never get the chance because some women feel like giving pap smears is a "female job".

    I go to my family physician for my paps right now and could not ask for a better fit for MY personality. Since he is male he is required (by law? or by this clinic? unsure...) to have a female present in the room, usually a nurse. (This must be common practice, although once I was shadowing a male pediatrician who needed to do a vaginal exam and I was the female in the room!) Anyway, the first time I went in, he fully explained everything that was going to happen before I got undressed, told me what he was doing and why as he was doing it. He is excellent. Since I will be attending medical school next year, he goes into lots of detail when I ask him questions. Women need to shop around for a doctor with a personality that fits them for this private and personal exam, whether or not that doctor is male or female.

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  30. >>Since he is male he is required (by law? or by this clinic? unsure...) to have a female present in the room>>

    Nope, not required by law. Might be required by the clinic. Most likely required by his malpractice provider.

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  31. I believe in equal opportunity: I have a female OB who is childless.....now she never experienced what i went through but couldnt have been more compassionate....A competent and compassionate dr is a competent compassionate one regardless of sex, race or orientation

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  32. My first child was delivered by a male OB and it was the most wonderful experience all around. He was very patient, and I was at ease. Although, at that point I don't think I would had cared who was delivering me...I just wanted to have my baby.

    I recently miscarried at 16 weeks and the first person who evaluated me was a male OB resident. He confirmed that the water broke and was very compassionate. His bed-side manners were incredible, and even though that was the absolute worst experience of my life, I was calm while he was talking with me and my husband. Shortly after that, I was moved to L&D and a female OB resident came in to give me cytotec vaginally, and I felt like she was so cold and worst yet, had nothing to really say to me. She asked me if I wanted to know whether there was still a hearbeat (she did an US before inserting meds) and I said yes...Of course I broke down when I saw that the baby was alive...She didn't even say she was sorry (just a nice thing to say to someone in that moment). However, after that I was seen by a female OB resident for an evaluation and she was great! I guess it really depends on the person.

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  33. From a Male husband perspective and father of 3 who has had a lot of experience with this issue, I feel that it is improper for a woman to 'electively' seek-out and recieve intimate care from a male ob/gyn when it can be avoided. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with being insecure or maturity, it has more to do with being "protective", and about "what's proper", and about "respect" for a relationship or marriage.

    Way too many male doctors have crossed lines in the past, and once a spouse has been violated, you can't take it back, so why take the chance? There are just as many competent female doctors that a respectable lady can go to.

    If a woman truly loves her SO or husband, then 1.) I would believe she would try to be as modest as possible, 2.) be respectful of his feelings, 3.) not expect him to endure such pain and disrespect. Now, if there were to ever be a "life threatening emergency", by all means 1st available doctor then please.

    Fortunately, my wife shares the same convictions as I do, and has way to much respect for herself and also for me to ever electively expose herself in such an intimate way. Male doctors don't even have the same plumbing that women do, so it would be like going to a mechanic who has never owned a car. While my wife has other male doctors such as dentists, and eye doctors, she would never electively go to see a male gyn doctor. Being a male, I just don't think you can ever take the "male" out of being a "man".

    A lot of women think that the process is simply "clinical", but this still doesn't change the "nakedness" exposure issue.

    Some women have even been known to become aroused during the bi-manual portion of these exams, and have also referred to their male ob/gyn's as being "cute" whereby making it improper. Who cares if a male doctor might see 20 women a day, it still doesn't make it "right" or "proper". I just wish that more women would follow their instincts.

    I find it interesting that women are generally raised being told that they shouldn't let men see them naked, including their father's, but then to say or think that it is ok' to electively submit to some strange male?

    This is not to say not to get any care, but to seek the right moral care, for both you and your spouse. What good is having "good health", when your husband or SO starts to resent you, and starts to lose interest in the process, or wants a divorce because he feels that a woman didn't do "everything" possible on her part to protect the intimacy of the marriage or relationship. In what better way could a woman show her man love and respect then to say "I go to women doctors for all of my intimate medical care and treatment". Here is a link for everyone's consideration:

    http://www.allfemaleobgyndirectory.com/about.aspx

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    1. The forums should not be used for advertising your services
      and then giving "moral lectures", I could go on about gay and lesbian doctors, and whether a woman who never has or cannot have children would still make a great obgyn, or how a cancer
      doc or someone treating a broken leg doesn't have to have the same condition,

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  34. I think being a woman is either neutral or a disadvantage. Possibly a disadvantage because I think it's harder to be respected as a young appearing female than as a young man, who can at least grow a beard or something.Thanks for information.

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  35. The one in 4 argument is a myth

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  36. Discrimination? This is merely supply and demand. Women demand female OB/GYNs and the supply should correspond to the demand, therefore, there are many more female OB/GYNs. Claiming discrimination is laughable.

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  37. male obgyn has always caused me a great deal of anxiety when my wife was seen by one. i think it is wrong and unethical for a ale doctor to perform such an intimate exam, it is a line that does not need to be crossed, i think it is just as important emotionally as physically the choice of doctors, but many times in ER you are given no choice but i dont understand why they cant anticipate this and always use the female doctors first unless otherwise requested, and this goes for men being nurses and technicians that involve intimate contact as well, i have always been uncomfortable with this proposition and probably always will, and many of my friends concur with me.

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  38. its not discrimination. if a woman chooses not to pull her drawers down to expose herself to a man, why would anyone think there is something WRONG with that? there is surely something in the water. and im pissed now cuz my practice is only now telling me they dont have female obs, which they had me thinking they did in the beginning. im 38 weeks, and have to now look for another practice.

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    1. I am sorry to hear about your experience. We need to increase the number of all female ob/gyn practices. Small towns do not have enough female ob/gyns. I hope you were able to find a practice that could work to accommodate your wishs. Birthing should be a joyful time. Too many women have traumatic birthing experiences because they ended up with a male ob/gyn against their wishes. You can email me through the contact form on Medical Patient Modesty's web site.

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  39. I’m a female cardiologist in my mid-30’s. I refuse to see male OBGYNs. My two children were delivered by female OBs. For my second daughter, I found that a male OB was on call and I refused his services. Fortunately for me, being an attending physician in the hospital, I was able to have one a female OB backup called in. I am not comfortable seeing male OBs because I know too much about physicians, and I’m not dumb enough to believe that male OBs are totally ‘asexual’ when examining women.

    First, with regard to all of these women who recount their ridiculous anecdotes about how “kind” or “gentle” or “awesome" their male OBGYN is: they sound dumb bringing up these stories. They are irrelevant. First, they are the exception, not the norm - kind of like women who like anal sex. There are a few of them, but the vast majority don’t like it. Statistics show that most women prefer female OBGYNs. Second, these anecdotes reek of naivite. These women remind me of Scout from “To Kill a Mockingbird”. They don’t understand the deeper points of their experiences. They’re not considering the points that aren’t readily apparent to them, such as the thoughts that might be going through their male OBGYNs head as he’s examining them.

    I can understand that in health care, some modesty must be compromised from time to time. But for a man to be in obstetrics and gynecology represents an absolute disregard for it. Let’s face it: doctors are regular people too. Male OBGYNs are regular guys - most of whom are heterosexual and are physically attracted to women. Their white coats don’t somehow turn them into asexual eunuchs when they’re looking at an attractive woman’s vagina. That’s reality. Why on Earth would I expose my genitals routinely to a physician who could very-well enjoy seeing them? That is a very plausible scenario, and I refuse to put myself in it.

    It’s harder to get an appointment with a female OBGYN, but in my opinion, it’s worth the wait. And with time, it will get better as most OBGYN residents graduating are female now. And I’m assuming that that includes the ones going into fellowships like urogyn and gyn-onc.

    Lastly, a woman refusing to see a male OBGYN isn’t being discriminatory. A male OBGYN should understand that he is seeking to work in a very private area on a woman’s body, and that his treating a women is a privilege that a woman MAY give him. He doesn’t have a right to do so simply because he’s a doctor.

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    1. Thank you so for your wonderful insights! I agree with you completely. It is certainly not discriminatory when a lady does not want a male gynecologist. Department stores will not hire male bra fitters because most women are not comfortable with a man fitting them with a bra.

      I am so glad that you stood up for your rights to have a female OB/GYN. It is sad to think about how your wishes might have not been honored if you did not have privileges as a doctor at that hospital. I wrote an article about same gender maternity care that was published on Dr. Joel Sherman's blog at http://patientprivacyreview.blogspot.com/2012/03/same-gender-maternity-care-by-misty.html. Dr. Sherman is a cardiologist who has a special interest in patient modesty & privacy concerns. He has written many great articles about patient modesty issues.

      Patients' preferences should be priority number 1.

      You have so many excellent insights as a doctor. I would love for you to contact me at Medical Patient Modesty, a non-profit organization that works to improve patient modesty.

      We are seeking doctors who are sensitive to patient modesty to give us insights about how to improve patient modesty. Please contact us with your email address. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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  40. The author's point is not necessarily discrimination, but rather sexism, just like a cancer doc does not need to have cancer to "Experience" what someone is going to or what about a women who for medical reasons cannot have children or doesn't have normal periods, or you don't need to touch the fire to know its hot, that's the point, there is a point about a white coat not making a person less sexual, but its much moot point in contrast to what folks say, folks become desensitized after working with many vaginas after the years, and not all vaginas and conditions are a sexual object, to have to deal with private parts that smell and messy conditions is not exactly a romantic or "wet dream" for a doctor, besides what about gay and lesbian doctors or female urologists,

    The one in 4 is largely a myth that women are sexually assaulted, that's an extreme position, that would mean that one out of every 4 woman was sexually assaulted and folks say that 1 out of 4 folks are sexually assaulted as children and generally
    that's family, so is 1 out of every 4 fathers a rapist, of course not yet folks keep repeating it,

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  41. RH+,

    I am the founder of Medcial Patient Modesty, a non-profit organization that works to improve patient modesty for patients and families who feel that modesty in medical settings is important. I wanted to share some thoughts with you.

    It is not discriminatory when women do not want a male gynecologist. Are you aware that many women have avoided important medical treatments because there were not enough or no female ob/gyns? It is true that some women do not mind going to a male gynecologist. But the medical community should always work to accommodate modest women's wishes.

    One lady with possible breast cancer that was aggressive from a rural town with no insurance could only go to a low income clinic. She said she was only comfortable with a female doctor for intimate women health issues. She was distressed that only a male doctor was available to see her. The female doctor was booked with appointments for 3 months. This is a very serious problem.

    One of my friends had a horrible birthing experience because her female OB/GYN would not respect her wishes that no medical students be present. Birth of a baby is a very special time and medical professionals should work hard to honor the mother's wishes.

    The reason so many women flock to the all female practice you work at is because they want to avoid male doctors. Most of those women do not mind having male doctors for non-intimate issues such as ear infections, flu, strep thorat, knee problem, allergies, etc.

    I encourage you to check out some reasons women do not want a male gynecologist.

    What do you think about men not being allowed to be Labor & Delivery nurses in most hospitals, mammogram technicians in most hospitals, bra fitters at department stores? All of those jobs involve bodily privacy and modesty concerns so they can be gender specific jobs. I would definitely consider it discrimination if a department store chose to not hire a man to be a manager or cashier. But it is different for a bra fitter job.

    I encourage you to read a well balanced article Dr. Joel Sherman wrote about gender preferences in healthcare.

    Male patient modesty is important as well. Many men are uncomfortable with female urologists and female nurses doing intimate procedures such as urinary catheterizations on them.

    I also encourage you to read number 3 in Patient Modesty, Values, and Rights. Two of his paragraphs are very well balanced about gender discrimination. You can see his comments below.

    "Don’t let someone tell you that your choice of one gender over the other for intimate care is discrimination, in the legal sense of the word. Don’t let them compare it to racial discrimination. A racist is someone who negatively stereotypes a whole race and/or thinks that race is inferior to his own. If, as a man, you believe that all women are inferior to men and can’t do the kinds of procedures you need, then, indeed, you are practicing discrimination.

    But that’s not what most people believe who request same gender care. Most patients welcome basic care from either gender. It’s only for the most sensitive, intimate care that they prefer a same gender provider. Their assumption isn’t that both genders can’t do the job equally as well. For modesty and privacy reasons, these patients just prefer a specific gender. So -- don’t accept this “discrimination” argument if it’s used."

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    1. The issue in question isn't whether or not male OBGYN's are compassionate , competent, sincere or otherwise. The issue is simply this , he's a man treating a woman for problems & conditions in connection with her sexual organs. No thank you. Pure & simple.

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