Patient Modesty: A More Significant Issue?
Although I shouldn't really be surprised, I am surprised about the relatively large number of comments I received regarding my posting in August 2005 titled Naked.
The posting deals with an article written in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Naked" by a surgeon in which he describes the inconsistent or better absent guidelines in U.S. medical practice culture regarding how to perform a physical examination in keeping with patient modesty. If the slant of the comments is an indication of general patient feeling, it would seem that there are a lot of unhappy, worried and embarassed patients out there who feel that in many ways physicians and others involved in medical management such as nurses or medical technicians are either unaware or uncaring about their patient's modesty or there are a number of physicians who appear as upright physicians on the outside but sexual perverts on the inside. If these comments to the issue are a reliable reflection of what is the view of U.S. society and not just those who took the time to write to my blog, then I think those who attend to the undressed patient need some enlightenment about what their patients may be concerned about. I want to believe that the physicians and others are simply doing their job, are under pressure of time and may think there are more important issues to be concerned about the patient than their transient modesty problem.
Nevertheless, as state medical board experience will show, there are "bad apple" unprofessional doctors in the profession and they should be dealt with and possibly removed from practice.
My suggestion is that if a patient finds modesty a personal issue at the time of the exam or proceedure, the patient should speak up about their concerns at that time and expect some explanation or response. On my posting, the visitors also raised the issue about those patients who,in surgery, while under anesthesia were "immodestly" exposed. In that case, although, unlike the view of my visitors I think such an occurance is very rare. If some inappropriate and unnecessary exposure of a patient was seen by others, those in attendance should express their concerns to the surgeon or superiors.
As with the complaints by some of the public about physicians asking inappropriate questions in history taking, the concern of the public with regard to modesty may represent a previously considered trivial matter in medical practice that now should be looked at as a more significant issue and therefore more intensively considered by those who teach and practice medicine. ..Maurice.
ADDENDUM: The photographs of bronzes were taken by me 7-5-07 at Huntington Library and Botanic Gardens, San Marino, CA. Left: Male-Unknown French 1780s Right:Female-Unknown Italian Late 17th-Early 18th century. The photograph of the plaster statue of a woman was taken by me on 9-25-07 outside the Boddy House, Descanso Gardens,Flintridge, CA.
WARNING FEB 28 2008: THIS THREAD SEEMS TO BE OVERFILLED WITH COMMENTS AND YOUR FURTHER COMMENTS WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED. PLEASE GO TO "PATIENT MODESTY VOLUME 3" NOW TO CONTINUE COMMENTS ON ISSUES WHICH HAVE APPEARED ON THIS THREAD. DO NOT TRY TO COMMENT ON THIS THREAD--IT WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED!!! HOWEVER, FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO READ ALL THE COMMENTS WHICH ARE MISSING ON THE FIRST PAGE, GO AHEAD AND CLICK "COMMENTS" ON THIS PAGE AND THEN CLICK ON "POST A COMMENT" ON THE NEXT PAGE AND FINALLY ON THE COMMENT WINDOW CLICK ON "NEWER" OR "NEWEST" OR "OLDER" AND SCROLL UP OR DOWN TO READ BUT DON'T WRITE!! ..Maurice.