Currently on a bioethics listserv to which I read and contribute there is a discussion about policies within the healthcare system which attempt to protect the participants of the medical institution from demands of patients with regard to race and ethnic background. One response by a physician was that his hospital institution had a policy to
“employ people on the basis of their skills and competence and without regard to gender, skin color, religion, etc. and when patients or families make discriminatory requests they must be evaluated in light of this commitment. Some seemingly discriminatory requests may be accommodated if there are good reasons to believe they have good psychological or medical validity and if doing so can be accomplished without compromising patient care pr staff safety (e.g., a teenage girl requesting a female physician for a pelvic exam). In our experience, the overwhelming majority of these incidents occur with nursing staff and allied health personnel (like phlebotomists or ECG techs). Most never percolate up the chain so that senior folks hear about them and they are usually handled locally by juggling staff assignments.”
I responded with : It ain’t just a “teenage girl requesting ” a gender selection of a physician or more often that of nursing and allied staff (including scribes!) performing or presence when genitals are being exposed. And in my 13 year ongoing Bioethics Discussion Blog thread on “Patient Modesty” it is mainly men who are demanding but very often not receiving their gender “discrimination” requests and are left either avoiding necessary medical care or leaving “care” emotionally upset. Although my blog thread is titled “modesty” there has been “no…none” racial or country origin demands ever mentioned or exampled.
Well, another listserv participant followed up with: “Maurice, maybe that is because discriminatory requests based on race or national origin are not necessarily associated with the heading of ‘modesty’ ?”
And so to start off this new Volume, yes, the title of this thread is “modesty” but is it true as the participant wrote it is inappropriate for me to infer that beyond this issue the writers here are free from racial or ethnic bias or any of the other issues of social inequality because of this thread’s directed subject matter? Or are gender issues lengthily covered here may be or are related to other medical treatment concerns which could be described as attached to other aspects of social equality or inequality such as race and ethnic origin which also bothers my visitors? Repeating: Is the medical profession not offering all that it should be offering to patient desires to those writing here in terms of social quality, beyond poor attention to modesty. ..Maurice.
Graphic: From Google Images and modified by me with ArtRage 3.