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

 
 
 

How to Stand Up For Your Rights

 
It is possible to get the patient modesty you desire in a medical setting, but you must be firm. Please look at some cases below where patients stood up for their rights. You need to speak up how you feel about how much modesty you want. Be sure you look at tips for patients. One man demanded that his pants stay on during a wrist reconstruction surgery below and he was successful. If you have a successful medical modesty case, please fill out the successful modesty case form.

 


I stood up for my rights to require that I would not permit any males to be involved in my treatment or be present in the examination room. I also refused to allow any medical or nursing students to be involved in my care or to have access to my medical records without my specific written authorization. As a result of my assertions, I was notified by the medical director of a family practice group that I was discharged as a patient. I made my requirements for gender specific care providers and no students clear up-front when I went for the first appointment. The female PA who participated in the first appointment made note of my requirements and have no issue with them. Needless to say, when I received the certified letter advising me that they would not honor my requirements, I was surprised. I firmly believe that until medical groups and hospitals recognize that we are not patients, but paying consumers who have a right to determine who sees and touches our bodies, this type of arrogant behavior will continue.

- Kay ( Female ) From New York


I had varicose vein surgery (stab phlebectomy) to remove a vein from my inner calf to half way up my inner thigh. I was getting conscious sedation, not general, but a word of warning to people who have never had conscious sedation...in addition to the sedation, they give you drugs so you don't remember anything so basically to me it's the same as having general... they can do anything they want to you against your will and you won't remember any of it. Anyway, I told the doctor and every nurse I came in contact with, that my underwear was staying on and that it was not to be removed. I also wrote it in several places on the consent forms as well. In addition, I stated that I did not want the amnesia drugs and I was to be awake during the entire prep procedure, right through the sterilization of my leg...no drugs until after the sterilization was done. This way I could personally keep an eye on them during the prep to make sure they didn't remove my underwear, insert catheters, etc or anything else. The anesthesiologist gave me some attitude but I was not budging on what I wanted. Believe me, if you budge, you will regret it (give them one inch, they will take a mile)! Once they have already sterilized the surgical site, they will be less likely to try and remove clothing unless they want to contaminate the sterilized surgical site. As a backup, I also physically cut off their access to my private area by using a lot of sports tape under my underwear so I would know if they even tried anything should I go unconscious...and I could care less what they think...it's my body and I will not allow doctors and nurses to violate it for any reason ever! For women out there who don't already know, hospitals, especially teaching hospitals like to let student doctors and nurses basically line up in operating rooms and "practice" pelvic exams on women under anesthesia WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT! I'm not making this up, google it. This has to stop!!!

- Alison ( Female ) From Nashua, NH


First off, I am a healthy 23 year old male. The flu had been spreading around my work so my boss offered to send all employees to the doctors office for preventative medication. I decided that it would be a smart move and made as appointment that day and went it. I politely informed the doctor right away that I was very uncomfortable around doctors, she acted like she had never heard this before and told be she was not going to take “attitude” from me. She then told be to take off all of my clothes. I told her I was not comfortable getting naked for her and asked her why such as intrusive physical was needed for preventative flu medication. She told be she was the doctor and my work was paying for it “so what should it matter.” She stated that I needed a genital and rectal exam or I could go somewhere else. I told her no again and she left the room, expecting that I would undress with her absent. I could hear her talking with the nurses out side the door about how rude I was. When she came in again I was still dressed, and she was visibly agitated by this. She was incredibly intrusive and disrespectful, but I got my way. A prescription with clothes on. My work wasn’t to happy to hear about my experience. Do not let doctors try and intimidate you into doing things that are both unnecessary and against your wishes.

- J ( Male ) From Tucson, az


Both of my children were born by cesarean. During the last one I was in with my wife while they were prepping her. (My wife had a female gyn and female Anesthesiologist) They asked me to leave the room while they gave her an enema. As I was waiting just outside I observed a male in blue scrubs start to enter into the room where my wife was. I had seen him coming in and out of other or rooms as I was standing outside my wife’s room and I noticed that he was just bringing in supplies and didn't seemed to be of any real medical value. As he started to enter into my wife’s OR room I asked him why he was entering the room and he told me that he was the surgical tech. Well, I stopped him right there and told him that I didn't want him in there. He said ok and stayed outside. A few moments later the OR nurse came out to get me and asked the Tech why he was outside. The Tech told her that at my request he was not going to enter. She just looked at me and said that's weird. I told her I didn't really care if she thought it was strange or not and I asked her if the level of care that my wife and baby were receiving would be any less if he stayed outside. She just said well, I guess not. Please do not assume that everyone who has on scrubs has to be present when these procedures are taking place. The medical community thinks so little of us that we are made to feel like they all have the right to see us and our loved ones exposed. I wonder if it was that nurse that was there having the c- section if the tech would of felt the need to be there during her enema? I think not but then again we are just the little people.

- William Ferrone ( Male ) From Laredo, Texas


In this same hospital, I had a case several months earlier where I awoke from surgery to find a catheter inserted - something that I had vocally and firmly refused many times. There are no witnesses for my side of the issue and nothing in writing, so it's my word against theirs. It would be a difficult case. I had another scheduled surgery. I made an advance directive, stating, among other things, that I refuse a catheter in all instances, and I may only give my consent in writing at least 72 hours after I've been given any mind-altering drug. They argued with me, saying that "emergencies" could arise where they'd need to. I stuck to my wishes, and did not let this fear-of-death talk sway me. I wrote on the consent form, in the block, that I specifically withheld consent for urinary catheterization. My husband wrote on my leg using a "skin marker" "Do not catheterize". He then took a picture of my upper leg with the writing on it, and my wristband. Put the refusal in writing, preferably on several forms. Tell everyone who you come in contact with. Write it on your body if you will be unconscious. Have someone with you with a camera to prove this. If a procedure is done which you refused, get a picture of it. Keep the implied threat of lawsuit if you are violated in sight. It makes it less likely that they'll risk the lawsuit, and easier to make the case or prosecute if they do.

- Beth ( Female ) From Oklahoma


I had a lump on my testicle and my Urologist wanted to set up an Ultrasound exam. I said that would be fine, as long as he arranged for a male Tech to do the procedure. He laughed at me and said it's no big deal and that the females do them all the time. I said either you get me a male, or I'm not getting this done. (My PCP already told me it was just a varicocele anyway, so I wasn't too worried) My Urologist called and requested a male, and sure enough I was given the test by a male Tech. You just have to stand up for your rights and be firm. Another situation: I had an appointment with a Dermatologist for a total skin exam, requiring me to undress down to underwear, and to eventually remove my underwear. I have a male Dermatologist so I don't have to worry about being humiliated. When I was waiting in the exam room, he knocked on the door and then he, a male and a female student walked in with him. he said "strip down" with all three of them standing there. I told him I didn't want an audience and he told the two students to leave. I know there are a lot of guys out there who are intimidated and afraid to say anything, but I work in the Medical field and know my rights. You have to be very vocal and very firm.

- Man Who Needed an Ultrasound Exam On Testicles ( Male ) From Central New York


I needed an ultrasound on my private area so my regular doctor sent me to a local Radiology clinic and I was surprised to have a female ultrasound tech come in after I undressed and was only covered from the waist down by a piece of paper. She announced she would be conducting the exam and to lay down, pull my shirt up and remove the piece of paper. I was flabbergasted. I asked if a male tech could do the exam and she said only women worked in that clinic. I politely asked her to leave the room and after a short argument she left and I got dressed. As I left I saw her standing by the receptionist and another woman at the front desk and when one of them called me by name I reluctantly went back to talk to them. She asked me what was wrong and I asked her "what do you think?" As usual they all acted surprised when I told them I'm not comfortable with a woman doing something like that to me. The third woman (supervisor?) told me that a male comes in from some other clinic and I could come in and he could give me the exam. I finally agreed and a week and a half later I went in and a young male technologist gave me the exam. He also seemed shocked that I didn't want a woman to do it and I got some mean stares from several of the women there. I will certainly never go back to that unethical clinic again but at least I got an ultrasound out of the way (negative) without compromising my morals. How can they not understand how many of us feel? I think they know perfectly well what the problem is but try to make us feel like we are crazy for thinking that way so they can have their way with us. Pretty disgusting.

- Man Who Didn't want a Female Ultrasound Tech ( Male ) From Western U.S.


I do everything with in my power to secure for me and my wife there are no boundary crossings in regards to medical exams. We will see a doctor of the opposite sex for flu/virus type things, but are always cautious of any sights or touches that would violate our intimacy with each other. When I had to have a colonoscopy last year, I talked to the doctor weeks before the procedure and told him under NO circumstances would a female be permitted in the room. He assured me that his assistant and the anesthesiologist were both males. If he could not have given me that assurance I would NOT have had the procedure. Everything went well except in recovery a female assistant wanted to put a tube up my rectum to remove any trapped air from the procedure. I firmly, but politely told her that she could not do it but a male assistant could. Which they accommodated for me! I share this past story to encourage others to let the medical people you deal with know what you will and will not permit.

- Man Who Had Colonoscopy ( Male ) From USA


I had a wrist reconstruction surgery because I broke my wrist in 27 pieces. Before they put me to sleep, I told the doctors and nurses that my pants were not coming off and I made a notch in my belt so I would know if they did anything to me. When I woke up from the surgery, it was still in place. I was firm with them and I got my wish. I had my shirt off.

- Hector ( Male ) From Guatemala


When I was about 14 or 15 years, I had to go to the doctor because I was sick with the flu or something. A Physician's Assistant came in the room and handed me a gown to put on and left the room. I refused to put on the gown. My grandma didn't like my stubborness. I didn't see the point because he could easily listen to my heart and lungs through my shirt. He came back in and just listened to my heart through my regular shirt. I felt like the gown was a little too immodest.

- A Young Woman ( Female ) From North Carolina

 


 

   
         
   

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