Bioethics Discussion Blog: Patient Modesty: Volume 3





Friday, May 23, 2008

Patient Modesty: Volume 3



gve said..

JD, the porblem with your "Pyramid selling" tactic is that men are embarrassed about discussing this issue at all, whether it be with friends, family or the "so called" medical "professionals".

The deliberate conspiracy of silence which men face is not accidental. Female staff will simply ignore your request and certainly will not raise it "up the food chain" because all they care about is protecting their jobs. The comfort of male patients is NOT an issue, we are compliant and quiet, what more could they want?
They rely on the embarrassment factor to stop men "going public" with the issue, have you EVER seen this as an issue in a large circulation newspaper or news channel?
The ONLY answer is individual refusal to go along with what i feel constitutes "abuse".
Men need to start saying no and keep on saying no.
WHY is it even remotely deemed appropriate to have cystoscopy performed by females on men, let alone the issue of female "spectators".
The person who said that doctors are choosing to employ females so as to negate the need for a chaperone was absolutely right, until we men complain, it will not only stay this way, it will get worse!
Why not email your friends the URL of this site and let them see for themselves how others feel, it has certainly empowered me!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:52:00 PM

Anonymous said...
Men's Restroom- Women's Restroom
Men's Lockeroom-Women's Lockeroom
Just really makes you wonder?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 2:08:00 PM

Anonymous said...
chuck mcp you made good points but where are you deriving your figures from? 1/3, 1/3, 1/3?

I wonder if 1/3 of men care about this? I also wonder if ANY males ever apply to work in a doctors' office? Most of these positions are very low paying, so most men would probably want more compensation than what is offered as an office assistant. There is a good deal of turn-over as well.

It is odd that some "men" feel a male nurse must be gay, when most are not. I wonder if women should assume that the female nurse working on them is a lesbian? Then, following suit, women patients should request and prefer male nurses.

It is also being stated here on this site that women in general have no understanding of how men feel to have opposite gender care. Maybe many nurses don't have any compassion for this issue but I do think many wives would MUCH prefer their husbands be cared for by males when it comes to genital & personal care and they certainly do understand this issue.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 5:27:00 PM

Anonymous said...
I don't like to see that word modesty. It's not an issue of
modesty. It's an issue of double
standard. Somehow that men are
less of a human being than women,
therefore we don't count!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:22:00 PM

Elaine said...
I am a 49-year-old woman who has a fresh (albeit apparently unpopular) view on the issue of gender and medical care. I cringe at the thought of another woman performing any form of exam on me. Three years back we moved to a small town in another state, and I chose a male gyne whom I had been told by many women was very reputable. It was true-- the man was purely professional during every part of the visit. However, when it came time for the pelvic exam, in came miss bouncy-happy-nurse to stand between my legs and "chaperone." When I said that I didn't want her there, the doctor explained that it was required to have a chaperone present. So I said no problem, my husband can come in and chaperone. I was then told that wasn't good enough, it had to be a female. This made NO sense to me. Who is more likely to protect a woman's best interests? The man she's been married to for 30 years? Or some stranger who works for the doctor? They suggested that could have my husband come in along with the nurse, but that would have been worse for me-- the more people in the room, the more embarrassing. In the end, I refused the exam, put on my clothes and left. I have since called every doctor within a reasonable radius of our town, and they all require that their own chaperones be present. As a result, I have not had medical care of a female nature in 3 years, nor do I intend to. I have since met a few other women in town who have the same view as mine-- one hasn't been to a gyne in 8 years!

I have heard several doctors complain about how many women they see with advanced cancer who would have been fine if they'd "just come for their yearlys." I say that those doctors can shoulder some of the blame themselves. If more doctors gave the women a choice as to EXACTLY who they were willing to have present during intimate exams, a lot fewer women would skip them.

And here is a very interesting thing. Most of the offices I called suggested that I go to a female gynecologist because they don't require chaperones at all. WHY the double standard? Have they ever heard of homosexuality? My very reason for not liking female medical staff is, when I was quite a bit younger, I overheard 2 female nurses discussing in great detail what "beautiful boobs" the woman in the room next to mine had. It made me sick. People have to wake up and realize that this is a new day and age, and just having people have same-sex medical staff isn't going to fix everything, and may even make things worse (think about it-- if a doctor *did* do something untoward to you, would it be easier to live with if they were the same sex as you?) For me, the answer is no, and this is why I prefer male doctors.
But I know many people feel differently. I have 3 daughters, and from the time they were old enough to understand the question, I always asked if they wanted to go to a girl doctor or a boy. Two of them now go to females, one goes to a male. It's a very personal choice, and one that should be given to every patient of any age-- by the parents, and by the medical staff.
The ultimate answer is in giving the patient the right to choose who they want present at all times in all situations, be it during tests, exams or surgeries.
As for the modesty issue, why can't the doctor simply inform the patient exactly what needs to be done and let them (the patient) set the standards regarding their own modesty? Some people are more embarrassed wearing flimsy gowns than being nude. Others need to be as clothed as possible at all times. We're all wired differently, so the medical profession needs to stop trying to find a golden "standard" to treat everyone by.

Thursday, May 22, 2008 11:19:00 PM



At Friday, May 23, 2008 2:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elaine, you made good points and I concur that everyone has differing thoughts about healthcare. The "golden standard" that you refer to is their position of convenience for them NOT giving any consideration to a patient's feelings.

The doctor and nurses in hospitals and surgery centers should tell the patient exactly what will happen and get the patients' consent. BUT as most on this site already know that doesn't happen. Then afterwards through an unpleasnat learning curve, the patient is many times angry and irked beyond words.

At Friday, May 23, 2008 3:26:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

I am posting the following comment by Dan Walter in which I have edited out an institutional and individual's names since including them would go against my policy of "no names please". It is the issues that I want discussed here and not specific medical professionals or institutions. There may be no opportunity for rebuttal by them and issues specifically related to those individuals or institutions can best be handled in other, perhaps legal, venues. ..Maurice.

Here is the story of what my wife endured at [deleted institution name]for an EP procedure: “I was on a operating table with no clothes on, with a tiny hand towel between my legs and a tiny hand towel across my breasts (hardly covered anything). Two thirds of the way around the room was a glass wall with theater seats behind, and in marched about 15 white coats, all of whom stood there watching while another resident tried to place the catheters in my groin. He couldn’t get them in there, but kept trying until he had me in tears and about 30 minutes later the EP arrived, [deleted individual's name], who easily got them in and then the EP study proceeded. The experience was extremely humiliating. I felt like part of a skin flick."

At Friday, May 23, 2008 5:56:00 PM, Blogger Dan Walter said...

Bravo Maurice! Well said.

I appreciate that you took the time to extract the essential facts. Many would have just declined to publish the story.

It's an honest judgment, well laid out.

Dan Walter

At Friday, May 23, 2008 8:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this situation referring to an ectopic pregnancy? I had some comments but wanted to be sure I was addressing the correct procedure first. It mentions study so I might be completely off the mark. Thank you.


At Friday, May 23, 2008 9:42:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

law, to clarify, I think that Dan Walter's posting was in regard to electro-physiologic cardiac procedure. This assumption is based on a very interesting but topicly unrelated issue related to his wife's health which was found on his blog and where there was considerable naming of names and behaviors. But I should let Dan explain here. ..Maurice.

At Saturday, May 24, 2008 5:41:00 AM, Blogger Dan Walter said...

It was a cardiac catheterization.

At Saturday, May 24, 2008 7:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surgery or not, this and other complaints regarding patient preference, etc. is just plain insensitive and indecent.

Healthcare should be held accountable for their lack of concern for a patients feelings and rights. PERIOD!!

At Saturday, May 24, 2008 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Male patients have cardiac caths routinely for diagnostic purposes and the groin area is shaved and cleansed as the catheter goes up to the heart via the femoral area. It can be done from the upper body but mnay physicians prefer the groin route. Males are prepped by females and all is exposed for this invasive procedure and prep.

At Sunday, May 25, 2008 5:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elaine, as a woman I must say that it would probably be a better things for you to pursue having your health checked. My suggestion is to call and talk to an office and find out if the female attendant/chaperone that must be present during a pelvic exam with a male physician can stand in the room but not in view of your genital area. I went to a male physician for years and the girl stood around the middle of the exam table and was not viewing anything. She was not present during the other time with the doctor or the breast exam.

At Tuesday, May 27, 2008 1:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother and sister don't have a nurse in the room during their private exams. Their doctor is fine with it. I really think this however depends on the doctor's comfort level with the patient.

If you are willing to compromise I would ask that the nurse stand up by your head. If the doctor had a problem with that I'd find another doctor. This should be more than acceptable in an exam.

Another option which my wife's urologist offers is that the nurse stays in the room but they are behind a curtain where they can't see the exam but they can hear what is said. My wife utilizes this option. Her privates remain private and the doctor feels protected.


At Tuesday, May 27, 2008 6:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I would be most concerned that a resident was trying to insert a catheter for 30 minutes. That is painful and inappropriate. Where was the attending during this time? Did this result in a medical malpractice suit?

The area for the cath would need to be prepped. After that happens it should be covered with sterile draping. Leads should also be placed on the chest but a gown should have been on patient for the procedure.


At Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elaine is not alone. If you look at my thread on chaperones you will find that a surprising number of women patients would rather not have chaperones present. I quote studies; I don't recall the exact figures but the percentage was near 40-50%. It is somewhat dependent on the age of the patient as older women with long time male gynecologists are much more comfortable with them than younger women.
I can see no reason to not permit a husband to be present instead of a chaperone or assistant, though my guess is that these requests are uncommon and many come from fetishists which most physicians just don't want to deal with.

At Saturday, May 31, 2008 8:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an experience when I was 11. I woke up from surgery to find myself naked on the bed with nurses watching over me and getting ready to put a gown on me. Th elast hing the nurse had told me befor th eether was turned on was that I would not have to woryy as nothing that could embarrass me was going to happen.
I was alwys a shy kid and ( I am male) from a conservative (very) community and family. 42 years later I have managed to escape with only one physical exam (40 years ago) Now I find I am going to have to go to a doctor for some exams of privates...and it is all I can do to make myself go and go through with it.ANd Yes I do wish it did not bother me. and as to "they have seen it all" and there is no reason to get embarrassed...those cliches only make me feel worse.

At Sunday, June 01, 2008 7:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only agree with the earlier post that "they have seen it all before" simply makes matters worse.

It is the cliche they churn out without thinking.

I have a prostate issue, being explored slowly, as fast as I am prepared to tolerate. I commented earlier that I had to ask the nurse to step out while i had the DRE (which resulted in the doctor describing me as "bashful" in my notes. I have now been told that I should undergo urodynamics. I have spent ages researching the procedure. I have asked for it to be undertaken by a male or males. Obs/Gyn facilities openly boast about the porcedure being possible with just one specialist FEMALE nurse present. When I pushed for this to be performed by just one male, I was told by one of the specialist nurses in my area that they would prefer to stay in the room while i have the process performed by a male doctor. That was their idea of a "concession".

I have no care or concerns about their emplyment position or the fact that I might "open the floodgates", I just want to have what suits me.

Why do medical professionals (females especially) have so little compassion about the feelings of males in such situations? IT is not about them or their feelings, it is about how I feel!

I will stand my ground and not have the procedure until I can be promised a male team.

At Sunday, June 01, 2008 5:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you discuss this issue with the physician, not a nurse, who is proposing the diagnostic procedure? If the procedure is done in an outpatient setting of a hospital you would more likely be able to have a male assist the urologist.

I would also ask what they hope to gain by putting you through this. How will the results change your treatment plan, etc. My humble opinion, and that of my internist, is that too many times they want to "test" "test" "test". And, at the end of the day you go through much worry and embarrassment among other things and nothing is gained from it and nothing has changed except for lots and lots of tests that they have billed for.

At Sunday, June 01, 2008 11:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tried to discuss issues with my specialist, he has already snidely called me "bashful" for my concerns. I have approached the specialist nurses as they know who can do these tests and who would be needed to support. Out of 50 nurses in Urology, there is not a single male.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 12:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GVE- I'am guessing something has happened to you with exsposure to to a female caregiver?
Yes I agree with you about having your wishes met but that does not seem to be happenning in your town. Not all female caregiver are disrespectful as well as all male caregivers are not also. Would you considered maybe a mature female nurse, remember a mature nurse is likely to be married so maybe have a husband and maybe even sons and I am very sure she would treat you as she would want someone to treat the men in her life. The bottom line how do you know a male caregiver would treat you with more respect?
As for the doctor writing bashful in your chart is maybe just code in that office that this patient wants his privacy (honestly I do not think it was the worst thing someone could write in a chart).
You do deserve to have your wishes met no doubt about it but that is just not working for you and I am sorry. You are just going to get sicker and sicker if you avoid getting what ever treatmeant you need have you ever consider talking to a social worker at a teaching hospital to help get your wishes met (if there is one in your area)?
I do not know what happened to you but have you also ever considered seeing a counsler to work through with you what happened to you? PLEASE I am not saying anything is wrong with you meantally but as you get older we all know we have increase visit to the doctor so I am told and maybe seeing a counsler will help you get through some of this and I say this from some of your past post that you rather die first that not have your wishes met.
Marcus W.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 1:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

50 nurses in Urology and not a single male!
In UROLOGY? A G-damn
male specialty! This shows you
how little concern male doctors
have for their male patients.

Don't do the testing with a female
in the room. Tell the doctor to
work alone. Tell him he can enter
"very bashful" and a "pain in the
butt". Stick to your purpose.
This is one of the breaking points
where males have to win.

OB/GYN advertises in the
newspaper that they offer an all-
female staff and you can't get
a single male assistance. Make
it a discrimination issue not an
issue of personal choice. Keep
pointing to "if I were a woman".
Rub their faces in it, again and again.
The hell with popularity
let them know this is about something bigger.
Let them know it is a Nat'l Organization of Men
issue. You want it met as a male
first and a patient second.
Good luck. Keep at it. Be a
"crazy". The cause needs a lot
more like you.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 2:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon of 12.38pm, I guess you are well intentioned. What you miss the point of "BIG TIME" is that I want male only care because I want male only care, I do not nor should i have to have, a reason.

Would a woman be being asked why?

Equality cuts both ways, I have decided to make a stand for my own rights and will not be brow beaten into submission, my local provider will have to find a way to accommodate me, not vice versa. I have enquired further afield and could be helped, but WHY should I have to go further afield? I am making an issue of it so they have it on their radar.

I have absolutely no intention of becoming more compliant as i get older, quite the opposite. My local carers would be well advised to take note and put plans in place to cope, otherwise, litigation, here we come!

At Monday, June 02, 2008 2:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Marcus W.

Woman who ask for female medical
staff aren't told to "talk to a
counselor"! In fact, they are
often advised to get tough if they
aren't given the option. It's much more
likely they'll hear the supportive words --
"I'd get a lawyer!"

WAKE-UP, buddy. You're part of the problem.
We all die, someday.
GVE can use his life to make a
point and hopefully, if he doesn't
get what he wants and suffers
consequences, a lawyer will attack
the doctor involved. That's how
women got what they've been given.
Pound at 'em, GVE. They've humiliated you
as much as they can already. Keep at it. Let
them think they might be digging
themselves into a bad legal position. It's the only thing
doctors and their insurance companies respond to.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 4:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what part of the country you reside in but if you are anywhere near a large medical teaching institution it might be easier to find male techs to assist on a urology exam procedure. You could also contact the administration of the hospital outpatient ombudsman or patient care advocate in the administration of the hospital and discuss this issue and demand no females in the room.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 4:55:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Though some information on my earlier threads was presented regarding the legal precedence (history) for bringing law suits against physicians and institutions for not providing the patient information regarding gender options or failure carry out gender requests by the patient, a review at this time by our visitors on this thread would be valuable. What I am getting at is that the recommendation or intent to "sue, sue, sue" should be more clearly discussed here in terms of on what legal basis and a documenation of the results of such suits. Can any of my visitors help with such documentation? ..Maurice.

At Monday, June 02, 2008 5:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Chuck,
You way out of line!!
Actually anyone of you can die for your cause!!!!!
Just stop acting like a three year old in here. The bottom line it is only FLESH and MUSCLE. Try being grateful that you have insurance!!!

At Monday, June 02, 2008 9:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I had a teticular exam and a prostate exam...I had been assigned a female doctoe, but when I asked I was given a male doctor. (I have always been a bit bashfull and shy and an incident when I was a kid left me really in terror of a female nurse or doctor.) I had psyched myself that I would not show embarrassment over the exams because I knew there was no way around them except to keep suffering and withth symptoms only geting worse. I fretted all weekend and slept little. Well by the time to drop my pants came , the doctor had managed to make me feel more comfortable with the whole thing. All he said in a kind tone was that there was no other way> Then came the shocker. He was as nervous as I was...and kept appologizing and saying he was sorry. The DRE was painfull but he seemed to get it done in about 10 seconds. His being obviously flustered really took me by surprise. I think that even though he is a doctor there must be things that embarrass him....When he regained his composure he set out the course of treatment..And at no time did he have any of the nurses in the room. I really appreciated the way he treated me. Now I only have an ultrasound tomorrow...testicular..I had to call the radiology place and make the appointment...When I asked if I could have a male tech the lady laughed and said that out of the many locations the have in this city...(a large US city) they do not have ONE male tech...I am not sure what it is going to be like as I really want to get rid of this pain (after 6 months I decided it was not just a passing thing.) There is no other place my insurance will pay and evidently it is the only lab my Doc uses. And I like the Doc...nervous or not. The point is Ultrasound techs are not low paid and I find it very hard to believe not even one guy is in any of this companies labs..I thik that there is really a case that males are discriminated against..both as employee and as patient..(No I am not going to sue anyone nor am I prepared to to suffer severe pain just so I can claim injury or such in order to sue anyone because I have a modesty issue) But I would really like to see the situation change. The cliche " No one ever died from embarrassment" is not true..and it also does not make the patient feel any better.I think that most who suffer from extreme embarrassment would rather be like those that do not have ay qualms about who sees/touches them in privates. We have two battles besides whatever other health issues we have. 1. We are more easily embarrassed than a lot of folk. 2.Many are embarrased at being embarrased. (Cliches really make make this worse).
Thanks for this site, Maurice. Just reading that I was far from alone in my feelings helped me deal with with the second item today.
I don't know about tomorrow..I was told that I will need to mentally be somewhere far away and it won't be so bad. Still, it si enough to deal with health problems without having to deal with the embarrassment too.... A male tech would not mean no embarrassment...but I feel it would be a lot easier. Oh yeah the prostate issue got trumped by a bigger embarrassment...the dribbles..particularly when I was not at home...

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 6:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You clearly have no idea of the issues involved.

Should we all be grateful that Hitler is dead, that clean water runs from taps etc etc etc.

Sure, insurance is good to have, so does that mean that bad manners and ignorance towards patient dignity should be acceptable?

I watched a TV documentary (ER Reality show) last night, when the staff suddenly discovered the naked patient was in fact a nurse, we never saw her naked again! Double standards or am I wrong?

If nakedness does not matter and people like me are making issues out of nothing, why not have surgeons and other OR staff operate naked? I know, that is just ridiculous, isnt it? So if it is so unnacceptable for them, why should they think patients should just comply?

I personally would have no issues with Urodynamics being performed by a male, observed by a dozen male students, I am not being given the choice to protect my dignity as i see fit. I am the patient, I say who does what to my body, I am saying NO to female care in personal, embarrassing procedures, I am not abnormal, providers who think it is ok to make people feel very uncomfortable are the wierdos in my mind.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 6:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck question are you a male nurse?
Did your parents ever suggest you become a male nurse?
Did you ever encouage your sons or your niebors sons to become a male nurse?
If the answer is no would you care to share the real answer why?

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 8:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did you ask the doctor performing the procedure if he could do it alone and unassisted? You need to ask the doctor directly as he is the one who will decide this matter not the nurse. If testing is to be done by same doctor that called you "bashful" I don't think your asking for it to be done alone will come as any surprise. I have a feeling he will do it alone. This should be your first step. Call today.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 8:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Dr. B. Last comment was made by -law. Pls feel free to add that to the end of my post if you able to do so. Thank you.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 8:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not think suing is such an open and cut case. Hospitals and doctors offer what they offer (HEALTHCARE).
I have faced Stage IV cancer in the face and to this day have been 100% GRATEFUL I had insurance and and caregivers. Yes, there was time I did not care to be exsposed to female caregivers and it happened alot but the true bottom line is at that time in my life I did not like being exsposed to anyone, so for me it was much easier to belive the embarrasement I felt came from the female caregivers but in all reality for me it was just my own insecurties. I am also grateful at times that was one descions I did not have to make because trust me you, when your that sick you must make far greater descions like- (how I am I going to live today).
I have to be honest I thought I was more for the option questions for male patient to decide who is part of the caregiver but some of you folks are making me feel the oppisite of what I thought. If in this GREAT COUNTRY of ours if someone offers to make you better go-for-it.
With suing and you might possibly win but when lawsuits are won, it opens the next wave of lawsuits. Where will America decide to stop suing and start living? So lets say everybody here gets to decide male or female caregivers people will not stop there it will be race becomes the issue and so-fourth. You may say that will never happen but it will because that is how we are.


At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 9:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went for ultrasound. I cringed all the way to the facility and even inside. When it was my turn I went in..really wishing I was anywhere else...The tech was a young female who was friendly...First thing she said was take off everything from waist down adn put on the gown...then lay on teh table and use the two towels she gave me to drape myself...she left the room and gave me time to get ready.. all I had to expose were my testicles...she asked questions concerning teh pain I have been having and a few other things...all very proffessional...most of the time she looked at a screen and not at me.....I was still uncomfortable But after the exam began I did not have the "flee" feeling...It was over in less than 10 minutes.
Her bosses may not care if patients would like another gender tech working on them, but she was great. After my male Doc obvious stress over the exam he gave me yesterday, I wound up feeling gratefull to the tech that lessened the embarrassment.
As to sueing Docs and hospitals ....I don't see going after someone when they treat you as respectfully as I was this morning..( I wouldn't sue anyway..just go back to the Doc and make him send me to a different outfit) Drapping myself made a huge difference adn then the attitude of the tech...a friendly business one....had me wondering if I shouldn't save teh worry all night and only get upset if something happens..
I have seen hospital settings where your privacy, modesty, feelings period did not mater at all....I did not get that treatment this am.
Maybe a better idea is to go to the administrators of hospitals, testing labs, Doctors offices and let them know that it is an issue...Let them spend the money on getting males nurses and techs and not on lawyers.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 1:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue here isn't about getting good professional service from females. Many times males will get great service. The issue is about not having the option to have a male medical staff member.

Women would get great professional service from male nurses in OB/GYN and L&D but they
are not even given the choice.
Medical facilities know most women feel most comfortable receiving this kind of intimate care from other women (and they don't want to have to chaperone male staff) so women never have
to face the NO OPTION for same gender care that males must face, everyday. That's the core
issue, always has been.

Many men in nursing programs are
told they do not have to take
OB/GYN and L&D courses because
they will never have the option
to work in these areas! That's
how definite the medical profession is
about where this is going.

The key debate involves change and the fact
that there is no affirmative action in place to alter the reality that male modesty requests are not being met while female modesty requests are being anticipated and complied with to the total discrimination of male

Modest males are definitely riding
in the back of the bus.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 1:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm so happy you went for your much needed testing. I'm even happier to read that you felt your were treated with respect and dignity by the female tech. I agree that the draping makes a huge difference when done by either sex. It feels much more comfortable to even have some of your privates covered. You should be proud for getting the ultrasound even when so nervous. Hope you feel better soon.


At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 4:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Chuck,
We are all well aware of the no option, that horse has been beat to death on this blog.
Issues take a long time to work out, as for the feamale patient they have not always been protected eithier. Today I feel very comfortable knowing my wife and my daughters are safe at the doctor and I am okay sitting at the back of the bus today, I will move up seat by seat when it is my turn.
Ranting and raving on this blog with the same thing over and over does nothing.
People in this world have endured way worst then you could ever imigine, having a FEMALE CAREGIVER see your penis and testicles does not even go on the same chart.

Husband and father of three.

P.S.- you should of tried to sit next to Rosa Parks at the back of the bus in Alabama, I,am sure she could of told you what modesty meant.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 4:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many men would much prefer a male to do personal genital procedures and it also follows that I am sure the wives of men are also bothered by the fact that males are not available to do such things. I don't think most women like the idea of a young female doing these procedures on their husbands anymore than a husband would like his wife going to have a mammogram or a genital based procedure done by a male nurse.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 6:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are on the page in wanting choices in the gender of our care providers whenever possible.
I would not have thought I could even do as I did this am a few months ago..My point was that in a facility that has only female ultrasound techs, that female did every thing she could to reduce my anxiety. I do not want a male care provider who is embarrassed to work on other males....We would not get the care we need..
Between the discussion here adn my recent experiences, I have less fear of the female care giver if I can not get a male. For me, the embarassment of "dribbling" (particularly after having to use a public restroom)and teh pain in my testicle drove me toget medical care..I had not really wanted to go anyone of any sex..and dreaded that I would be subjected to that "pre-doctor exam" given by a lot of nurses at the doctors offices I have seen over the years. It is supposedly to save time as they can verify you need the doctor for what you are saying.Times like those it would be really nice to have a male nurse.
I can only on talking to the folks in charge...get them to come to this blog and see how very much a new policy is needed..How strong feelings are..I just want the healthcare system to become aware of the fact that guys do have modesty issues..and no it does not mean that they are wierd.
I also want it to come from the system..not the courts..court decisions have a habit of only making everyone equally miserable..when all we want is equal consideration AND not to be made to feel like defective wierdos because we get embarrassed. I do not know about any of you, but I was even embarrassed at being embarrassed and the attitude toward males so often just makes the guy want to go hide in a hole..and extremely inferior. We can get change if we just get th eright folks toread this blog..and to talk unjudgementally to the guys...AND toss those dang cliches about "not dying from embarrassment" etc. out.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 7:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Husband and father of three.

NO OPTION for men in
medical modesty
is ultimately what this
blog boils the issue down to.
Hence, there is no beating it
to death until it changes.

It's your choice to feel your
wife and daughters' safety
(with no male medical staff around)is
more important than male modesty
considerations. I don't put them first.

Your turn to move up on the
bus will never come unless you
point up the imbalance. Get
use to the backseat.

Having male medical assistants seeing
the vaginas on your female
family members is far less to
endure than you might imagine.
(How do you like the flipside?)

P.S. Personal body modesty is
not modesty of the ego(humility).
Rosa Parks might also explain
that difference to you.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 8:40:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Here are two e-mails I got from Lee and he has given me permission to post them here. ..Maurice.

Dear DoktorMo
I have dodged doctors for over 40 years because of a few incidents..especially one that happened when I was a kid....The incident of awakening from surgery to find myself on display and as it was a small town the nurses knew me..and my family...really had a lifetime affect on me. To find myself the subject of conjecture as to whether I would grow and equal my Dad in size (between the legs) I never did..I have pretty small testes .well I have wasted a lot of my life over it..allowed it to govern my every aspect of life in a way...In addition to this occurence ,I found myself exposed on several other occassions with the idea that Guys don't care..we are all exhibitionists an dsex hounds really did not help. No, I never told anyone...I ws way toooo embarrassed..and then I was too embarrassed that I was embarrassed.
I do not think most of the violations of modesty merit a law suit...Just a bit more accomodation in providing both genders where it can be done. AND in keeping the providers from becoming tooo complacent to the feelings of the patient..I do not care if they see 100 guys naked a day...I am not used to being seen and yeah I do have some issues that are my problem and should not be the care providers worry.
I think that it is likely nurses are more carefull about their comments in the presence of the patient than mine were (they were surprised to find out that I was no longer unconcious..and the hours of vomiting gave them a chance to think I had forgotten the incident.)
Again..maybe in that case or kind of case I would take legal action...I don't know I might be too embarrrassed to too.

I just think that the couple of minutes longer it might take to let the patient have drape themselves or do something themselves or the effort of getting both sexes represented on their staff should not be considered an imposition...Again I do not know that lawyers being brought in will do anything more than run up a bill..and create hard feelings that might make males even more subject to ridicule or mistreatment.
By the way, two years ago I had a family memeber who had two major surgeries at a hospital. I had to be there with them a lot. The staff got used to me being there and at the smoking area...Most of them were very circumspect in their conversations...but there were a few..doctors and nurses of both sexes who made comments about patients that were uncalled for..and worse the fact that I knew some of the patients that they were taking care of..I was there for weeks ...and talking about them in terms that did not take a private investigator to figure out.really bothered me. They did put down modesty for guys....and in at least one case made sure everyone knew about him when he protested.

Some of these things might be actionable...many are not I think...
maybe you could edit this email to make more sense with fewer words and put it on your blog.
Again..for some reason reading about others embarrassment helped me...I did not feel like I was a lone freak or might not have been the purpose of your blogging, but it is a side least to me. Thankyou.

Many of us were toooo embarrassed to say anything...and unfortunately too embarrassed to seek proper help...I have had to get to 55 and in pain and real embarrassment (hey peeing on yourself 5 steps out of the bathroom after you just bad..and. when it happens at a public restroom......well it and pain from another condition finally trumped ...and I just got tired of being embarrassed....and feeling like I had to hide. If you can get anything across to health care providers..let it be that guys can suffer embarrassment and be embarrassed because they are embarassed a two whammy thing.....and logic can get the point self-interest priorities become skewed....
Sir, I really think people die because of being embarrassed...and the cliches they use on us patients only drive us into silence....and away from help.
Again, I really don't think most of the issues of modesty belong in the courts...I think that turn in the responses really jared me into thinking about what would work. I do not want the doctor nor the labs I finally am going to to spend time with a lawyer or money either...both take away from an already heavily burdened system and won't really address most of the modesty issues...Awareness of Doctors , nurses, technicians, and administrators might make all teh difference....without doing more damage than good.
My experience with the ultrasound and the technician this morning was not nealy so bad as I had imagined...and I really don't think I could have been any better treatment from a male..
I left wondering why I had thought it a big deal...and regretting not doing more years ago...but then I doubt if such things as allowing me to drape myself would have been allowed in teh past or at some institutions.
Thanks for your response and your not taking sides you allow real feelings in teh matter to be posted..and a real discussion...and you can report the results in a way that might be acted on by the powers that be in the medical community.

At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 9:34:00 PM, Blogger amr said...


"The incident of awakening from surgery to find myself on display and as it was a small town the nurses knew me..and my family...really had a lifetime affect on me."

If patients could be awake for surgery, I think that fewer patients would be "on display" so casually in the OR.

Also, there is a growing number of videos from around the world showing up on YouTube of surgeries. There is one of a med student at her 1st operation scrubbing in. A hand held camera is in the OR showing her being gowned. It was clearly a rite of passage video taken by a "friend". Well over her shoulder is a male patient, nude, being prepped. The bad news is that videos of these types are showing up at all - note my previous concerns voiced herein about cameras in the OR. The good news though is that it appeared as if no one in the OR was paying any attention to the fact that the patient was naked. They were all going about their jobs.


At Tuesday, June 03, 2008 10:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck McP. You sure swing a mean hammer. But I must say, you hit the nail on the head, again and again. Your song may be old and familiar to this discussion but it's probably the only tune we've got. So keep ranting n chanting and I'll keep humming along.

to leemacaz - Happy to hear your ultraasound wasn't as bad as you expected with a young female incompany. Now, back to the point. Why did it have to be a woman? Don't go soft on us here. No one did you any favors. Being properly drapped is to be expected. If you go along with what was forced on you as not half bad then you'll get another woman next time. Is that
the goal in avoid embarrassment?
I don't think so. Avram

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 6:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank-You for sharing your story.
I never woke up from surgery as you did but had my first surgery at the age of eighteen it was majior surgery and except for several sets of stiches at the local ER I had no clue what to expect what was coming days before my surgery and the days after. I was shaved, enemas and had a foley inserted which at the time was very routine I guess for an operation and at time and I guess stills is on some levels. I had all female nurses taking care of me they all seemed very nice and this was back in the mid eighties when you had more one-on-one care from caregivers.
The early issues I had from all of this I never knew what was coming next in ways of having to exspose myself amd as you stated I was too embarrassed to mention it. The foley was the worse and two female nurses did it and I will never understand why two, except maybe it was policy. At the time my parents did not pre-warn me of anything and the doctors and nurses did not pre-warn me until they walked in my room and stated why they were there and what they were about to do. I did have the courage to ask about the enemas, were there going to be anymore during having one. I honestly believe I had very good care at the time except for the ambush approach but I am sure that was the way handle such matters. The operation was just the begining of the exsposure and there was still cancer in me and it turned out to be in my Lymph system so I quickly got very use to my groin area being examined because I was at a teaching hospital for the cancer part. So on the flip side of everything within in one month I was mordified at exsposing myself to becoming very numb about the situation and today I know things could of been handle different but I am alive and very happy to be here.

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 7:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can share any expierence strength or hope, MOVE ON.

It is not wrong for one man to wants his wife and children to be procted before him.

It is not wrong for men to have an option in who is involved in his health care.

It is not wrong for someone to say they had a good expierence with the oppisite sex in a test.

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 8:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to all who have responded to my posts. I am not diminishing my desire for nor the need for more males being brought into health care for those who are not comfortable with opposite sex care givers. My posts , I hope, are in response to finding I was not alone..that I was not jsut a wimp, wierdo or whatever. My posts are to be a way to let Doctors, nurses, and whoever that some real problems..that have serious consequence my posts are so that others also know they are not alone in their feelings..and my posts are to be fair to all. Since I went and started getting something done about health concerns I feel a lot better about myself...cause teh wimp wuss and loser tags that we have had to try to avoid (we won't tell anyone of our embarrassment out of worry and fear..face it no one wants to be put down for something that they do not really have that much control over...there have been times I have pulled into th edoctors parking lot only to have areal panic attack..and drive off because I could not go through what lay inside) and when you are embarrassed it usually means you are tooo embarassed to even say you just avoid any situation that remotely touches on those fears or embarrrassments..this is where embarrassment kills...) I am so lucky to not have had a life threatening situation...even a few months ago I would have probably felt death tobe more of a viable option than going through the internal hell of embarrassment.
By the way, I do not usually get involved in any blog discussion....I am so gratefull to DrMo for this one ...and all of my posts are meant to help get change.... As I really think teh other responders want as well.. And for those who do not have any modesty problems with respect to the sex of health have no idea how lucky you are.

To the health care providers...if a person is too embarrassed they are not even going to see you to voice that embarrassment because they are going to be too embarrassed to...they do not want to hear those cliches ( yeah those things are a pet peeve of mine) so maybe if you are able to provide same sex nurses, techs, etc. these folks are going to be more likely to seek out timely treatment..and you probably will never know (except the little hesitations) that they have a problem about you won't have to worry about dealing with anything but whatever the patient came to you for.

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 11:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is arguring that there is an issue (big issue) where and how male patient modesty is even awknoledge or dealt with.
I have to be honest you seem to be jumping all over people if they do not agree with every thought of yours. Yes, some other people have brought up great points also.
This issue is relatively new for being said outloud from men, especially with this generation of men being more vocal about there feelings and yes the internet has helped men be more vocal to a degree.
If we have anyone to blame it would be our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, if they had any feelings on male patient modesty they never brought it up, not to our mothers or grand mothers and cerntinly not to us. Our for-fathers were the strong silent type so we think.
Male modesty issues must be met but it is not going to happen over night because the problem did not happen over night.
You responded to a comment about you did not care if women and children were protected, okay that is your opinion and you are right for believing what you believe. I have to be honest my mother is not getting any younger and I can rest better knowing what ever doctor or hospital she goes to she will problay be okay. My mother never asked for that right it mostly happened I think because of 90% of the nurses being feamale and it is not her faught that some male doctors took advantage of feamale patients. It is not her faught that many feamale patients fasley accused male doctors in abuse cases. Mostly womens rights are not really rights when it comes to healthcare it envolved that way, except for the no male nurses in the obgyn area.
Another poster brought up a great question , my father never encouaged me to become a male nurse. Society as a whole is a huge blame for this, men went out and worked and mothers stayed home with the children. I never remember my father getting out of bed in the middle of the night if myself or sibblings was throwing up it was always my mother, even if she was working because that is what mothers used to do be the caregiver at home. My mother always took us to the for exam or when we were sick and was always present in the office while the male doctor was seeing us.
Today it is different divorced parents single-mom's single-dad's all the roles are different for parents.
Today half of the population in America is somewhat protected with modesty issues and with time the other 50% will be somewhat protected.
Just last night history was made and regardless of the outcome history was going to be made. As we all know a female and an african american were in a primary race and at one time eithier one of the could vote here. As we all know this was extremely unfair and took generations to work out that way. Life is not fair and our for-fathers made sure of that keeping alot of people down maybe in a strange way it was our turn to be kept down a little.

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No male should feel bad about sharing a positive experience with female staff here. That's a good thing not a bad thing. Most important is that people get the medical attention they need so they can get on the road to recovery. No one should stay in discomfort or pain.

Good for Lee for having a great experience with the opposite sex and sharing it. Maybe another man who is anxious will now also get the help they need and have less stress about it as well. This is something to be celebrated as he was treated with the dignity, kindness, and respect we should all expect from male and female caregivers.


At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had two ultrasounds of the pelvic area in the past and I did have a male tech both times by choice. I found them by calling numerous facilites. Out of 4 facilities there were two that had males on staff.

I can only say that I really would not have been comfortable having a female doing this. Lots of KY jelly put on the testicles and they have to look at the area to place the probe. Draped? Somewhat but you are still very much exposed. Lying flat you can't really see what they see (of you). Yes, the tech must look at the screen while they are moving the probe so insure they are getting the picture the doc will accept otherwise they will have to redo it.

Bottom line here, when you say the female was professional--what would unprofessional be? Giggles.

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If everyone here on this site would spend 15 minutes and write a letter to a hospital/urology office/outpatient surgery center and voice the complaints to them that you share here it would be a start on the path of making it known to the industry that male modesty and preference is an issue and needs to be addressed.
That would do more than just bitching on this site. Call or write, it only takes a little bit of time-- Share your feelings.
No one should have their feelings minimized or made to feel it is trivial. Unless people start speaking their minds--THEY don't know what an issue it is.

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 4:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't mean to shift the subject too much off ultrasound trials but there was an interesting note on Dr. Joel Sherman's site that should be reviewed by the readers and writers of this blog.

Go to: Search: "trauma naked"
under the general discussions you'll find five or six pages of reactions to being naked in the ER and the different treatment afforded men and women with respect to same.

Several years ago, my ex-wife worked as a Production
Assistant for an ER-type reality TV show taped at a major trauma center in Texas. She was part
of one of several rotating crews that consisted of cameraperson, soundperson, producer, and production assistant. The cam and sound techs were males. The producer was a female.

When they were filming they had to keep a safe distance away from the medical staff working fast on
emergency cases being brought in. Standard draping procedures that the trama center normally employed
(or employed when being watched by TV crews) were in place and making it extra difficult for the cameraman to get any dramatic(read interesting or gory)images. So the producer asked if it would be possible to not "cover-up so much" so they could see what was going on. The nurse in charge,in consultation with one of the doctors appearing on camera, agreed that they would have to keep the woman covered but "the guys, not so much". Everyone smile over this, especially when the male doctor flirted with the female producer and said, "if you don't mind seeing some manparts". To which
she responded, "I'm a big girl, doctor."
True story. And the show(so to speak)went on.

I think the head nurses' reaction shows that there is an empathy for women by female staff that simply doesn't extend to men. Since so many women are in place
in healthcare, the lack of empathy can become overwhelming for guys. But from the testimony being written on this blog, I guess you have all figured that out. Just wanted to add that extra story. Sorry if it was somewhat off the point.
jason k.

At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 5:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing unprofessional about a female doing an ultrasound on a male even when privates are involved. The only time it becomes unprofessional is if the tech doesn't handle it in a professional manner which isn't the case here. Unprofessionalism has no gender. Sad that anyone would "giggle" over someone getting the medical care they need. Don't put your personal agenda over someone else's health issue. This forumer was in pain and discomfort and got the help they needed. That should be applauded not ridiculed.

I also agree with Anonymous 12:26. Write a letter to your hospital, local urology offices, etc. and make your feelings known. Ask men that feel the same way to follow suit. That is how change will begin to happen.


At Wednesday, June 04, 2008 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why aren't you equally outraged that a male doctor allowed this to happen to a male patient? Certainly he should share in the blame. The female nurse made the initial comment that they needed to cover the females but the male doctor didn't fight it and say the males should be covered as well. He made a flirty remark instead. Both are culpable and both are wrong. I wouldn't let either off the hook for not putting the patient's modesty over a good shot.

The trauma/naked thread shows at the nursing site is a good read. I would say 90% stated the man should have been covered in addition to him writing a letter to complain. Nice to see.

At Thursday, June 05, 2008 6:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason-you say this story is true how do I know its true. How do you know everyone smiled over it.

If this story is true, did you report your ex wife,crew , producers, tv station and entire hospital and staff working?

Did you call the local news media to report the TV station and the hospital?

Did you do everything in your power to try to uncovers this very detailed (here say) story that you shared with all of us?

At Thursday, June 05, 2008 7:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jason k.
your story is not off the is exactly what we have been discussing...the ultrasound was my experience for that one test only.
The double standard is one of the main gripes we have. Thanks for sharing...DrMo started this blog discussion for exactly this kind of thing..and to try to find out how we felt...and to help make the medical community aware that modesty is a real issue.
The story you related is really a fear of mine..being subjected to needless embarrassment. Being exposed just because we are males doesn't mean we are exhibitionists nor that we can't be as embarrassed as teh female patients.
The standard seems to be that females modesty issues are valid but tht we should have none and most of us get put down if we express our feelings.

At Thursday, June 05, 2008 9:15:00 AM, Blogger Marjorie Starr said...

It seems that both men and women have modesty issues due to their experiences.

I'm advocating for any victim of sexual abuse to have same gender care as a mandate, not an answer to a request. A bill was recently passed in Alaska to that effect.

The medical community has put people's right to work ahead of privacy that is part of our constitutional right.

People go into a hospital for a procedure and come out with PTSD because of the degrading way they are treated.

It's time the mental health community dictated some of the non medical procedures for mental health.

The Patient Bill of Rights is proof of the problem. It is not being enforced and there are no consequences for cruel, inhumane, degrading treat or consequences for deviant healthcare workers.

At Thursday, June 05, 2008 9:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did some calling around today...asked several doctor offices and labs about getting male nurses, techs ,etc. None of the ones I called could provide an all male situation. When I asked..the universal answer was "Look we would love to be able to accomodate you, but we are struggling to get nurses and techs at all and males are almost never to be found." One went on to say that they understood my issue because they had one with not having women attend them. The same one also said that in oreder to accommodate all of the speciall requests they would have to have 10 or 12 different people where they can only find and afford one. (They get men who want only men in attendance. they get men who only want women attendants. They get men who don't care as long as no gay males attend them. They get requests for so many things...)

I also surfed teh net today..went to and started punching in search words.
I could see by what I read that there are a great many people sympathetic male modesty...and some who really demonstrate our frustration with the system...Some had no prblem posting that they did not think guys are embarrassed by anything..or at least should not be.
I also came to a startling conclusion....A great amny of the men who die "from being too macho to go to a doctor" are probably suffering from embarrassment...not he-man is just easier to let everyone think it is teh he-man thing....I have a neighbor who is a nurse.She has been on me for years to start seeing a doctor...last night she congratulated me on getting over the "macho thing"...well even if it is a lie of omission I did not set her to why I had not gone before. I am still embarrassed to admit I am embarrased...just not as much as in the past.
I think that because there are so many reasons we are embarrassed..emotional traumas or whatever that the solution has to start out with just getting the health care system to even recognise that there is a problem..I am not sure that the way costs are, the lack of males in nursing and many of the tech jobs ( guys seem quite able to run X-Ray machines but seem to be unwilling to do sonograms from what I gathered today) that many institutions are going to be able to provide a male for everything we might least not in the near future.. The nursing shortage isn't being alleviated by having many males step up to the plate.

The only other thing is this: Please...cover us up and stop exposing us when there is no real medical need to leave us exposed...and Please..the sterotype of we don't have modesty issues has to go.
I know some will think I am going "soft"...I am not...but I also know I have to be realistic and work from there to effect any change and not be labeled as just a troublemaker...I have to try to understand what the system can do before I tell it what it has to do.

At Friday, June 06, 2008 2:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'am not trying to be rude.

You can not have it both ways, you can not play the Marlboro Man and the suffering patient all at once.

Maybe you could look for a happy medium?
First maybe you could tell you feamale nurse friends the truth about when you were a kid in the hospital and what it has been like for you since then. She is a friend and a nurse and maybe she can help you with some insight into her working world and inreturn you can ask her how she deals with the male patient at work.
You mentioned they should stop with the sterotypes, your not helping them think otherwise when your playing the macho man. Just be your true self and you will shine.
Your also write as other have been saying, this will take some time to work out and also there is a huge shortage of doctors right now also and if I read the article correctly they are going to make it easier for nurses to become Nurse Practioner. So that we even pull more nurses from the norm.

Nancy Hardy.

At Friday, June 06, 2008 9:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure quite how to voice what I want to say.... I am not trying to have it both ways at all....when I am having to be the Marlboro Man I am sure not the suffering patient acuse you are not going to see me unless I am unconcious.
I am trying to find a way to be able to make it easier for guys to seek medical attention...I refer to my earlier comments..when you are to embarrassed to even admit you are embarassed you are going to get the Marlboro Man because it is the only way you can deal with the situation...I am only trying find a way that guys can go for medical treatment and until they can find a way to deal with the situation. An alternative to dealing with things by avoiding them by using the Marlboro Man thing. It is not just an issue of pride. I do not know what you call it....but embarrassment is just as real an emotion as fear and it is just as powerfull. If this blog were not anonymous, I would not even be able to say or write anything...I went to a Doctor the other day...The 4th or 5th time in 40 years adn the first in 40 years for a guy ws hard enough that the doc was male....I would have paniced if it had been female..and I would not be on meds even though I had a real took me months to screw up teh courage to go at all. You can tell me all the reasons you have for why I was wrong and I won't disagree with you...and I still am not likely to do anything you want if I am going to be put in an embarrassing situation. stupid on my part yeah...I wish the logic of the situation just made the embarrassment go away. It doesn't. I was in a pretty bad car wreck some years back and I lied through my teeth so I wouldn't wind up in the ER no consequences mattered.
Again I feel that there is a double standard for guys and for gals. So tell me to suck it up...ok I have and so have others...we suck it up, endure the pain and run away from health providers....I did my calling to find out why it seemed so hard to get male attendants...just to make part of the situation more bearable. It was frustrating that there was not an easy answer...that both realities of callous providers on some ego trip (I felt some of them are practicing medicine so they will really good at being tormentors in hell) and the ones who do give a damn but are having trouble providing medical care at all have to be overcome...The easiest answer is for everyone to put down and cuss the otherside ..let it be staus quo..and then wonder why there are so many Marlboro Men dying.
Since the reality is our chances of having to deal with both genders as providers is about 100%, I am asking the females to not add to the resons for guys to take the Marlboro Man route..guess I need to ask the male providers to do the same...Just read some of the female nurse comments on have a clue...and some ought to find another job.

Being embarrassed does not make you a Marlboro Man....your treatment by health care providers does.
Do I wish it was not an issue for me..YES I do..more than you will ever know...all I can say is that after all these years I am at least trying to do something about it besides run..that is not having it both ways

At Friday, June 06, 2008 10:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorrry Nurse last post wan't so good....What I am trying to say is..when you are embarrassed and then you are ashamed of being embarrassed....when words hang in your throat..even when you want to say something..when you break out in a cold sweat and you start thinking only of how to get out of a situation...well...I think that trying to make teh situation easier might be a stepping stone...
I am trying for that happy medium cause it is all there is....If you think I am not trying...ok..but you are wrong. It took everything I could muster just to go to a male doc..
My neighbor is a real nice lady..but...
Look again the anonymous part of this blog gave me a start...I am not such a fool as to think I am not going to have to do more myself to people who know who I am ..people I feel have to see face to face....But for this week my prostate ultrasound test (female tech) are all I can handle..not asking for sympathy.. and I do appreciat your words and advice... Yu are obviously a great nurse Thanks

At Friday, June 06, 2008 3:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Straight up if your that upset it sounds like it is time for some therapy. You went through something when you were younger and you have not even came close to dealing with it. This blog can only maybe help you 10% with the issue. You mention you have panic attack not good to let go untreated. Not trying to be harsh.

At Friday, June 06, 2008 3:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry one more thing.
All this talk about the Marlboro Man- Marlboro cigarettes were original created and marketed for ladies at the time the world was nt ready for a cigarette for women. So Phillip Morris Company pulled the ad an the product and relaunched it for the rugged male and introduced the Marlboro Man and never changed anything about the cigarettee not flavor or tar content. Just makes me think a little that behind all the hype about the Marlboro Man is a WOMEN.
My point is everything is the world is not always as it appears, so cut youself a little slack and take care of yourself.

At Friday, June 06, 2008 9:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To: Majorie Starr
(June 5th, 9:30 A.M)

I believe the Alaska bill only effects "adult psychiatric patients" requesting same gender care.

I regard the Superior Court of New Jersey's Appellate Division, 1996 decision, as more important
here. It extends this right to all under healthcare while protecting the rights of workers(mostly male) where same-gender isn't being requested by female
patients. Actually, we've had BFOQ provisions to cover for this in place for over 40 years now, but when it is invoked, it is largely to maintain privacy for women, indirectly resulting in an even larger exclusion of male
rights to similar requests.

The problem is rarely that women who make same-gender requests can't be accommodated, the issue is usually that the same requestsfor men can't be met, and men are also defacto excluded from employment by the difficulty of maintaining a double-inventory of personnel by gender. One solution might be that male nurses, techs, and aides be pool-employed so that they work at different facilities each day of the week. This would give more male patients more options. These men would have to be paid premiums for the extra travel required by multi-location employment but it can be done.

Why isn't it being done, today?
What's missing right now is the affirmative action legislation that would require that male patient privacy requests must have the same possibility of being met as female requests. In other words, the BFOQ provisions now in law must be enforced for all, equally.

Unfortunately, the healthcare support professions are so heavily female that we must monitor their vested interests in not allowing such affirmative action to develop. It would be a great first step but it is being
stonewalled and has been for decades. Men are dying because they visit doctors more infrequently and later in disease stages. This is known to be true.

We have long chosen to put the face of the Marlboro Man on the male patient when in most cases he is probably the Modest Man. This masks the tragic consequences of the great double-standard. The imbalance in research dollars for male health issues vs. female ones also extends from this attitude. All indicators would appear to show that females demand rights for themselves at the expense of men,
both as patients and healthcare professionals. The sad truth is that they are not about to acknowledge it.
National Organization of Men

At Monday, June 09, 2008 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

I started a new thread on the subject of using patient activism as the method to create the hoped for changes in the medical system.

Write there your views of attempting activism for change in the medical system, the pros and cons and suggestions how it can be effectively done. Do not write there details of the specific issues of patient modesty which are being discussed here--write those issues here. ..Maurice.

At Monday, June 09, 2008 7:31:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Here is the comment from today of hsm which is pertinent to this thread but was written to the activism thread. ..Maurice.

At Monday, June 09, 2008 4:51:00 PM, Anonymous said...
This topic needs to be addressed by instructors in nursing school programs and medical schools. Why would nurses/physicians/techs think that people--all people-- are okay with opposite gender care? Just because it is "medical". People have varying degrees of attitudes about this. Especially as our population in the U.S. continues to become more diverse. This blog needs to be read by ALL nurses and doctors, then maybe they might understand people are not happy.


At Monday, June 09, 2008 9:27:00 PM, Blogger MER said...

I started a thread on about this issue. There have been other threads about this and related to it on that site and I've read them. But those other threads contain only stories and expereinces. In this new thread, I'm supplying some research and evidence. I also make mention of this and other blogs. Go to and search for the topic Male Medical Modesty. It's not good enough to just complain. We must give evidence, which isn't easy, because there's not much research available.

At Thursday, June 12, 2008 2:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point in that early post about modesty discussions end up becoming double standards discussions. I would add one more word into the mix, hypocrisy. I add it because many of the female practicitoners who create the double standard atmosphere themselves do not use male physicians when possible and would be very IRATE at any male medical related employee viewing their own bodies with the same indignity that males often go through. This is despite the fact that many of these same women “professionals” throw words like sexism around.
We all know by now the common technique in these kinds of discussions of switching the sexes in the patient/doctor scenario and asking one self what it would feel like if the situation was reversed. Now throw in the female practioner herself as the example.
Imagine a female physician having a pelvic exam by a male physician and having him bring in a male office administrator to chaperone the exam for his comfort. How about bringing in some male nurse trainees and calling her sexist if she refuses?
It is often said in these types of threads that males need to speak up to make it known how they feel. I would recommend to mention this hypocrisy next time one is made to feel sexist, immature or petty etc. when a modest male requests a male physician and a dirty look is made. Just remind the person that you only want the same women physicians themselves want.


At Thursday, June 12, 2008 5:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

June 09, MER message about the thread on This is a good discussion but because they "nurse moderators" are so touchy about anything along this line of dialogue I was previously banned from expressing my opinion. This is simply ridiculous and this site in my opinion is banning the topic you have touched on. Nurses feel that they have every right to do genital care without getting a patients' permission and consent. I wish I could add to your dialogue.

At Friday, June 13, 2008 7:40:00 PM, Blogger MER said...

None of my posts have been cut or edited on I've tried to keep the thread free of flames and respectful. And I've tried to keep it about responding to articles and research I present.

I like this blog here, and think it is extremely valuable -- as far as it goes. But we're preaching to the choir, in most cases. We need to get on blogs like and keep the discussion free of emotional rants and research oriented. Now, I'm not suggesting that males shouldn't feel emotional about how they've sometimes been treated. But it does no good to get emotional about it on these professional medical blogs. Just describe the incident as objectively as possible.

My contention is that most nurses are on our side, but many are confronted every day with situations where they don't have a male nurse available. They do the best they can, most do. I'm not saying it's right that men don't have more choices, and we've got to change that. But we need to deal with reality, too. I'm trying to get more nurses (and doctors) to think about why it's imporant to empower their patients, especially males, by offering to give them choices when possible. Or be more creative with scheduling to make sure a male nurse or assistant is available. If you read my thread on, one nurse said she didn't give men the choice even if available because she didn't want them to think she was uncomfortable with the exam or procedure. Another nurse replied that it wasn't about the nurse's comfort but about the patients.

Most nurses are sympathetic to this cause. We should not stereotype nurses as simply wanting access or entitlement to intimate care for men. There are, of course, some like that. But they are the minority.

Nurses are the ground floor workers in this kind of care and can be our allies in this battle.

The more I research thsi issue, the more I see communication as a key ingredient. If the medical professionals don't bring the issue up, men for whom it matters need to initiate that communication as respectfully as possible. If the doctor or nurse doesn't seem to take it seriously, keep being respectful and communicate reasons and research. If they still don't respond, tell them that word spreads and that you won't be returning and won't recommend them to other men.

But first try communication. In some (maybe many) cases it may be what's needed. Many doctors say I (in theory) that the patient is in charge. But some patients need to be told that.

I invite those of you on this blog to join the discussion on, but avoid emotional rants and stereotyping. It's bad enough that men are often stereotyped regarding this issue. Let's not add to the problem by stereotyping nurses. Give them a chance to respond -- but let's provide them with some hard facts and research.

At Friday, June 13, 2008 9:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thread seems to have been well received at by all that have responded. They seem concerned about male patient modesty and they are well aware that it does indeed exist. They seem genuinely concerned about the distress some men feel.

The key is to get more male nurses out into the field. If that happens then men will have more options. Right now it just seems that even if they want a male they won't get one because there just isn't one to offer in most cases. I know some men prefer female care versus male care but for those that prefer men it would be nice for them to have the option.

The key might be getting colleges with nursing programs out into high schools to recruit. Nursing is a very hard job but it does offer a nice salary and health benefits. It could be such a nice profession for both sexes and there is a huge need for nurses.


At Saturday, June 14, 2008 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What considers a "rant" could easily be considered as a debate of opinions. Funny other topics in the site get the same heated, debated back and forth conversations from posts but they ae accepted. Seems this modesty issue is considered more of a threat to the some of the nurses and moderators. I get a sense that the nurses are offended with the simple fact that not ALL men want their services. That is hard for me to understand because it is no different than what womens varying opinions are about male intitmate care. How many husbands would like to hear that their wife personaly prefers a male nurse to do initmate genital care either alert or sedated as in surgery?

My experinence has been that nurses come across as shocked about this topic--like they have never heard of such a thing! How unlikely is that?

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 1:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, we hope to be civil in discussion but we must also be realistic. Male doctors don't have
female chaperones to protect the
feelings of female patients. Male
nurses are not kept out of OB/Gyn
and L&D because they can't do the job. There are legal, and employment, and vested gender interests standing in the way of male patient needs in this debate for fairness.

Yes, we need more male nurses.
Studies have shown that the number
of male nurses is growing very slowly as a result of a self-image complex that men naturally have with "nursing" -- a female attribute associated with breast-feeding. Try challenging this with
a request for a name change on It is universally belittled by the nursing members there.

Right now, the number of gay males in nursing is estimated to be double the number of gay males in the general population. Many of these men tend to support the label "nurse". Male nurses, identifying themselves as straight, and speaking out thru "Male Nurse" express more reservations over the current label. They know that the female and gay male stereotypes are keeping men out of the profession.

The greatest boost to employment of males in nursing and med-tech areas would come from a new name for the male nurse(whether those currently in the profession approve of it or not)and the placing of male nursing staff under intermediate male
supervision. Overwhelming female
supervision is the most voiced complaint by males who won't stay in nursing more than five years after all they went through training for the profession.

Females nurse may say they are sympathetic to male patient request for more male professionals in the field but their controlling position in
nursing is actually keeping men out. We need lots more nurses, both male and female. Anything which keeps males from entering a profession that offers twice the national average in pay and great health benefits has to be examined, closely. Men who are not now in the profession but would like to consider it want two things in place. They want to be called by a different name and they want to work under male supervisors. We must acknowledge that the situation for the male patient is not changing fast enough due to self-image conflicts for men and a gender war within the profession's ranks.

Sometimes talk solves nothing, a logjammed issue is often best resolved in a courtroom. If something is resisting equal fairness by gender, it is a discrimination matter, not a medical one. Men are interested in the profession but they are being kept out by long standing and subtle female control.
- avram

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 7:51:00 PM, Blogger MER said...

I don't disagree with much of what's being said in response to my previous posts. One bloger above write: "What considers a "rant" could easily be considered as a debate of opinions."

I agree, but anyone can have an opinion about anything. We've got to back up our opinions with whatever articles and studies we can find. The last post expresses many opinions, maybe some facts,b ut I don't see any sources.

Now, I admit that it's difficult finding studies and other materials about this topic. But there are sources out there and I've tried to refer to them in the thread.

My experiences talking with nurses hasn't been that of the opinion expressed above, that nurses are offended by this talk. I agree that it can be a threat to some nurses, but I don't think it is for most. I think the last post by avram is right about many issues.

Maybe this does belong in court. I don't know. A law recently passed by the Alaska State Legislatue requires same gender intimate care for mentally ill patients. Of course, they don't define prep for surgury as intimate care. But it's in interesting bill. If you read the reasoning behind the bill, the arguments would apply to other intimate care outside of mental illness. Check that out on the web.

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 9:47:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

I want an opinion from the regular writers to the threads on patient modesty. I was thinking of limiting the number of comments on each "volume" to let's say 100--first to prevent whatever is going on here on which stops publishing the comments when apparently the numbers of comments gets experience so far well over 100. Second and which I think is also important is to make each "volume" more readable to especially the new visitor here by keeping the number of comments down a bit. Therefore, should I plan to start "volume 4" when the number of comments hits 100? As participants, your ideas will be helpful for me. ..Maurice.

At Sunday, June 15, 2008 5:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would start the next volume when this one hits a 100 posts. It would be easier especially on those new to the site. Good idea.


At Sunday, June 15, 2008 6:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MER: The nurses' comments on allnurses' have in the past come across as very non-understanding of the male modesty issue for intimate care (ie WitchyRN & others). The previous comments (on threads other than yours of recent posting) were very strong. Many stated in so many words that it was utterly stupid for a male patient to expect anything less than a female nurse doing preps, caths, or any other genital based procedure. If a surgery prep isn't considered intimate I don't know why. It doesn't get any more intimate than that. A nurse or a tech handling and viewing your genitals (male or female patient/with an opposite gender clinician) for 15 minutes or more? How can that not be defined as intimate? Just because a patient is purposely sedated for this to take place?

Another interesting read on the site is "male nurse forum". One thread is about how badly some male nursing students are treated at some nursing programs. Another interesting thread is the forum talking about male nurses in LD/OB/GYN.

At Sunday, June 15, 2008 8:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Bernstein:

Yes! Very good idea but 100 is too low. Try 200. I think that should fit under the bridge.

Just as important -- can you recover the missing year or so of comments and repost in mass to
what would be called Volume 1A,1B, 1C? I believe the lost comments are readable if one
tries but most won't realize they can be accessed as these postings are now off the radar. They must be clearly in view to a google word search and a single click on the site.

Each Volume should start with a
date posted at the top and end with
your note that discussion continues
on Patient Modesty #__ and the
date of the volume's closing.
Please provide an active connecting link
in the last paragraph.

The entire patient modesty discussion immediately looks more important if it is being managed in VOLUMES of comments. I see your site referenced, again and again, on other blogs such as,, medical privacy, etc. It's become
the modesty blog of record. When outside professions investigate, the volume of comments here should
impress them. Their reaction needs
to be, "Whoa, this is much bigger than I thought."

Keep up the good work. You're blog
is one of the few bright spots for
change in the medical modesty universe.

At Sunday, June 15, 2008 10:37:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

I had to reject the post this evening by one of our visitors because it dealt with a policy conflict with and did not pertain or contribute to the content of this thread. Please, keep the thread oriented specifically to the issue of patient modesty and not the visitor's dealings or experiences with other blogs or websites. Again, I await some literature search regarding patient modesty in any of its concerns and what others are specifically doing to mitigate the concerns. ..Maurice.

At Monday, June 16, 2008 2:43:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

An anonymous visitor wrote a comment for publishing here which had to do wih the conflict with which I noted above.
Again, today's comment is mainly dealing with another visitor's experiences on that other website.
From the information written in yesterday's attempted posting, the issue was one of not following the website policy and not one of the patient modesty views. I would suggest that further discussion of this case should be carried out by e-mail. Let's deal with the primary issues of this thread and not how other websites set their policy or interpret the motivation of their visitors regarding obeying the policy. Gosh, I have already written too much on this posting not related to patient modesty! Let's get back to the topic. ..Maurice.

At Monday, June 16, 2008 5:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reactions of the allnurses site does directly relate to the topic here. It again shows the attitude of nurses regarding male medical modesty and the feelings relating to this topic from nurses and visitors speaking their minds. MER thought he had an open forum to express this topic citing research, etc. Again, as in the past the nurses stopped the communication. There was no reason for it other than they evidently don't want to face the music.

At Monday, June 16, 2008 5:31:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Anonymous, as I understand it, the issue was apparently not his view but a matter of not following policy. Now whether this was an excuse by or not I don't know. However, we shouldn't argue their intent here.

But Anonymous, why don't you identify yourself to me at and I can share e-mail adresses, if both parties agree, so you will be able to communicate to each other directly instead of this blog. Let's get back to the designated thread. ..Maurice.

At Tuesday, June 17, 2008 7:51:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

JD attempted a posting on now closed Volume 2. I will reproduce it here. JD, my wife has finally recovered and thanks for your comment and interest in me and my blog. ..Maurice. p.s.-by the way, remember you can always contact me directly by e-mail at

Dr. Bernstein

I am worried that we have not heard from you. I know your wife has had some medical issues and am concerned. I know I am not alone, I hope and pray everything is OK with you and yours. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope you will let us know you are alright, if your not, I want to express my concerns and appreciation for all you have done for those of us who have benefited from your efforts. God Bless JD

At Tuesday, June 17, 2008 9:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you Doctor that we should not argue the intent of the moderators on however, over and over again when threads appear on that site it is quite coincidental and obvious that the subject raises hairs on the back of the neck of many nurses that post there regularly and of the "moderators". They apparently don't want the conversations to continue and are not interested in hearing what other opinions are and subsequently close the thread. They may not agree with what people have to say but unlike you are not "open" to really zeroing in on varying views and patient satisfaction.

At Tuesday, June 17, 2008 3:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that regularly inhibit free speech sums up the attitude of morst nurses to this topic. Men should just take what they are given, put up with the double standards AND be grateful. Times are changing slowly. Men are feeling more empowered to say NO, some men are doing so more openly. I live in the UK, I have chased the issue all the way to government and got agreement that equality should indeed cut both ways, they are falling over themselves to be seen as treating men as equals. Things will take a long time before men get true equality, but any journey takes less time once you actually start it.

At Wednesday, June 18, 2008 8:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further to the comments about the UK, which i posted, I neglected to sign against them.

What I have found most successful, is to pursue things from an equality perspective, and targeted female members of the government, they appear to be more inclined to avoid being accused of the double standards and as such have made great efforts to be seen to be fair! Great isn't it, males not helping males.

At Wednesday, June 18, 2008 1:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post from the UK.
I've been saying this here for a long time. Ultimately, this is not a medical issue. It is a discrimination issue that results in a double standard. BFOQ exists
in the U.S. but it is not being enforced per male modesty requests. If we can't be accomodated due to lack of male staff then we need affirmative action to change the situation for males, immediately. More
men demanding male staff is one
of the things that will change it.
When writing politicans and hospital administrators don't forget to mention that you are
not asking for special accomodation, you are simply asking BFOQ based requests be
treated equally for both male and
female patients. This goes right
up against the fortress wall.
Here they must say -- "We can't
comply with BFOQ provisions in
law." Then you take it to your
political people and, if possible,
to lawyers who will be happy to
sue if they find a sound legal
ground for doing so. Enough
suits and medical policy changes
because its cheaper than fighting
the position with maintained legal
action. Good luck. Keep up the

At Thursday, June 19, 2008 4:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed the train to #3, someone suggested a link when changing blogs and notice in the last paragraph. I think that would be a great idea.

A couple observations, on the all nurse blog the discussion of male modesty was going great, I thought the input from providers was very encouraging, the vast majority understood and seemed to be picking up and genuinely interested in hearing more. While I only got through the 1st 4 pages I don't understand why it was closed. MER, I thought you had to be a nurse or in the field (ie student) to post, is that correct. I really hope they reconsider I found the dialouge very encouraging and it reflected positively on providers.

One thing that was brought up here is the need to approach these things positively when we can and result to punitive as a last result. I am meeting with one of our state legislators in a couple weeks. I have prepared a request that he sponsor legislation to start a "are you tough enough to be a nurse" campiegn. Oregon did a are you man enough to be a nurse and had some success bringing males into the profession. I am presenting it not as just a male thing, I am doing so under the umbrella that rising health insurance costs are casuing businesses to drop insurance thereby increasing the # of uninsured. Creating lower cost alternatives such as clinic's staffed mainly by NP's could work to increase wellness efforts, help reduce the number of non-emergency visits to the ER, and lower the cost associated with Dr. visits for minor illnesses and physicals. This will help the looming Dr. shortage but aggrivate the nurse shortage, therefore we need to bring more qualified people into nursing, with on 10% being male that is the likely place to bring not only numbers, but qualified...etc. I think approaches like this, and as someone stated before using the "you of all people know how bad the double standard is" when talking to female administrators, legislators, etc. could open up opportunities. Coupled with individual efforts to ask and make our individual needs known may just start the ball rolling...sorry for the long post...also didn't mean to turn this into a male modesty blog...but I think it is obviously a big issue...glad all is well with you and your wife Dr. Bernstein. JD

At Thursday, June 19, 2008 7:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the campaign about being man enough sounds like a winner.
If this push for more males in all areas of health care (nurses, NP'S,
PA's,techs, etc.) can be presented in context of a general shortage of health care workers, it would probably get a lot wider support.
Because some states are so desperate for nurses, they are paying most or all of the schooling costs and I think some of them are even making housing available.
I hope the state legislator realizes the proposal by JD addresses several problems while only needing the resources as if it were one problem.
The argument of "You know how bad the double standard is" ought to head off any accusations that this is about anything but needs and rights.
I suspect I will be alot more active in trying to get a like campaign in my state after my trip to a urologist. I am nor really sure just why my primary referred me and I have no exaactly how they do things at a urologists vs at my primary's office...which lead to enough anxiety...but the lady on the phone that made my appointment said I would have to take it up with the doctor as to his nurses. She did not say so, but I bet they do not have a male anything except for the docotrs,

At Friday, June 20, 2008 8:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a couple of comments on the last several posts:
A) You can log into without being a nurse.
B) I bet 99.9% are female office staff and assistants in any doctors' office. When I have asked about males and female office staff I have always gotten the same reply: "You need to discuss it with the doctor." Guess that is their way of saying they can't help you or do anything about it so take it up with the boss. Then he'll blow you off with the old standby excuses. They've seen it all,,,yada yada yada.

At Friday, June 20, 2008 4:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I registered with so i could query their censorship of the male modesty thread.

I emailed an adminstrator to ask why it was being censored and was "banned for ever" from the site.

Is that what is known as free speech?

Nurses obvioulsy have serious issues with men wanting equality.

Amazing really isn't it, they fight very hard for equality for themselves then deny men the same thing.

How outrageous.

I thought your constitution enshrined free speech?

Apparently only as long as it is in favour of female positions

At Friday, June 20, 2008 10:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gve, uk
I guess free speach is often encouraged only if you agree with or at least in no way challenge the moderators or their positions on many blogs...dissention apparently is not freedom of speech. From what I can gather from reading different threads on, the idea that males have modesty isn't widely recognised by the nursing community. Guys might have false modesty or unhealthy extreme bashfulness ( which we are instructed that we must get rid of yesterday), but real modesty or modesty issues are a figment of our imaginations.
Questions such as, If I am being examined for a possible skull fracture or brain injury why I am I left lying on the table naked and exposed ( like the head of my penis does NOT house the cerbral cortex) or If I am in danger of having cardiac arrest why I am totally naked and exposed on the table for resucitation..I mean seriously "down there" is not is NOT going to need ventilation, defibrilation, or CPR in any manner..
I am going to say that broaching the truth (not breeching it) and then being banned seems to exhibit arrogance such as held only by the really insecure. Besides getting more males into health care we need to get those already there to be a bit more respectfull to male patients. leemacaz

At Saturday, June 21, 2008 10:27:00 AM, Blogger MER said...

I'll explain briefly what happened with my thread at In my last post, I mentioned that I was a writer and than an article might come of my research. My thread was immediately shut down, I was told that my sole purpose had been to write a book and thus I had violated their rules of self promotion, and that I was would put on a probation. I tried to post a message explaining my point of view -- That I had claimed that I was researching this topic from the beginning. That researchers typically do something with their findings, that is, publish. So I wasn't hiding anything. I certainly wasn't dishonest as they said I had been. I told them that I wasn't going to write a book. I received no response to my claimes, just a message that said I was banned for the sight permanently. As with most of you, I had thought the discussion was going well -- it was respectful and I had tried to post some research for people to react to.
Now, I know the doctor doesn't want this thread to focus on this issue, so I thank him for letting me explain to you all what happened.

At Saturday, June 21, 2008 11:36:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Without documented identification of the posting visitors to a blog or website, it is unrealistic to make a judgment regarding the frequency and experienced character of the concerns that are being expressed. For example, anonymous, unidentified visitors could post the same concern under two or more names and thus exaggerate the number of visitors expressing that concern. A visitor could present a view contrary to his or her own view simply for discussion and similarly confounding the frequency of that view. The character of the concern as expressed by a visitor in the form of a personal experience can be understated or, in fact, overstated or exaggerated. The readers of these posts cannot be sure in either aspect. That is why attempting to make generalizations regarding the results of postings on either my blog or that of is futile. One can get a feeling that a problem exists but can’t quantify it. Therefore making assumptions based on what is posted is tenuous. What may be valid is the concern itself and this concern should be open to consideration, discussion and investigation. That is the value of these threads. Again, I am not trying to minimize the subject of concern, it can be very important but the number and the expressed stories here cannot be evaluated in isolation and without considering the factors noted above.

What would be constructive in place of bashing or bashing all nurses or others without documentation for support would be to obtain documentation regarding that concern. We all know from reading these patient modesty threads pretty clearly what are the concerns. We should now change the tone and character of the postings from further anecdotes and non-constructive bashing to a serious attempt to get the real facts and publish them here for discussion. That means the visitors should try to obtain the opinions of social institutions about the issue of patient modesty and the issue of gender selection and availability for examination and procedures and then document here the statements made by these institutions. Contact the nursing associations, the medical associations, the hospital associations including in the U.S. the Veterans Administration and the state licensing boards for their opinion. Contact the state legislators and those in Congress from your district. This is the way to start an activistic approach to the problem rather than moaning, groaning and calling names. Why don’t you express your concerns by contacting the newspapers, local radio or TV station’s news department and tell them what you understand about the issues and whether they have any further information about it or would be interested to investigate. Let us know the results of your requests.

I am sure that those visitors who have suffered the indignation and discomfort of these modesty issues should have the motivation to attempt to get change by first actively getting the facts of what these social institutions think about the issues and then promote interest for them to help resolve the issues. Do it. The more visitors here that do it will make a bigger interest impact on these institutions. It is much more constructive and valuable an activity than simply complaining on this or other blogs. ..Maurice.

At Saturday, June 21, 2008 4:28:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...


No visitor has asked me yet this question but it is a valid question.

Let's open our minds here regarding possible solutions to the concerns which have already been voiced. Let's discuss in more detail than previously, what reasonable steps can be taken to mitigate these concerns.
For example, specifically what steps can be taken to modify by addition or deletion the pre-operative informed consent to allow the patient to have voice in the final consent text? Does any of my visitors still have somewhere a copy of the consent form they signed and hopefully were provided and could write about any options which the patient could insert? Could you tells us about your forms? Are there areas of the forms which can allow patient requests to be part of the consent? If present, that would be the very beginning towards a solution. How about such areas on forms signed for an office procedure? The point is..can patients express their requests in such a formal document that has as written legal importance?

This is just one example of what we can continue to write about on these threads. Think about other approaches to find solutions to the patient modesty including gender selection, either as something that can be accomplished in the short term or which still may require a longer term for solution.

You see, I feel the issues have been, after all these threads and hundreds or more comments, to be clearly detailed in all the various nuances and now is the time to get together to find, but write in order to discuss here, some practical solutions. Did I answer my original question? ..Maurice.

At Monday, June 23, 2008 9:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally am a bit intimidated at where to start. I know there have been efforts to start an activist effort with little support. Obviously someone has to take the lead and it is going to take a lot of itme, effort, and e-ablility. I know in the past Dr. Bernstein has indicated he is hesitant to link it to his site as that isn't what his focus is. One of the issues then is how to get people to (a) visit the site and (b) partcipate. A lot of things come to mind best practices, a library by state or region of resources...i.e. copies of releases, contact etc that people could contribute. the big question is who.

Just a quick observation, on an earlier comment, no doubt the overwhelming majority of office staff are female, there are still things we can do to mitigate the issue to some degree, the most important..comminicate. My Dr. is very cognicent of the issue, did my vasectomy by himself. A friend of mine went to a different PCP call him Dr. J, when he met with him he told him he didn't want the office nurse present becasue he knew her, no problem, Dr. did it by himself, another friend goes to Dr. J, knows the nurse, says nothing and then is all embaressed and mad becuase she was present, said all she did was hold his penis out of the way, he said I could have don that....there are still things we can do while we wait for someone to grab this and make it go.... I would gladly help, but don't think I could do the lead as I have limited tech ability JD

At Monday, June 23, 2008 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

JD, how about js md's blog as an activist site? In terms of getting people to go to the site and participate, couldn't some of the visitors who come here, write letters, hopefully to be published in their local newspapers regarding the patient modesty issue and direct the readers to my site for review of the postings but mainly to js md's site for those who agree that there should be change. As with most doctors, I think the general public isn't aware that patient modesty is an issue to a number of patients and could be interfering with obtaining proper and timely medical care.

By the way, this is posting 92 on this Volume 3 thread. When we hit 100, I will start Volume 4 and not allow further posting here so that we can feel assured that we won't miss any comments as has happened in the past on this site. ..Maurice.

At Monday, June 23, 2008 12:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this site from Once on that site there is a nursing forum. A reference to a "bioethics discussion blog" was made. You do not have to be a nurse to log in.

I had never heard the term "bioethics." The posts here reflected my families feelings regarding genital care given by healthcare workers of the opposite sex. As the doctor has so stated it is hard to document just who is posting here on the multitude of messages to actually determine how many people feel this way. Many people never experience a urology visit, an ultrasound of the pelvis, or even a surgery. I believe the statistic is 1 of 10 people will have a surgery in their lifetime. So this subject does not come into everyones' lives. The general public does not have a tremendous amount of "behind the scenes" knowledge of what is going to happen and who will be tending to them.

I would like to know from others that post here how they even found this site. If you ask people what is bioethics? I'd bet 99% would not have a clue. My contention is that if people were given "all" information for a "proper informed consent" prior to a procedure or treatment, there would be a lot more objection than what seems to be currently spoken from patients in the healthcare industry. They claim or the excuse is that they simply do not have the time to do so. Sorry for the ramble but how did all of you find this site?

At Monday, June 23, 2008 12:50:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...


I just received an e-mail from an ob-gyn physician David Claud MD who has been presenting interviews with various folks including physicians broadcast over a Hammond Indiana radio station WJOB. He is looking for resources for new medical topics. I wrote him about the issue of patient modesty and the problems of gender selection of healthcare providers and their staff.

I would think that if some of my visitors would contact Dr. David, he would be benefitted by your ideas but also this might be a good beginning for my visitors to become activistic as a response to their concerns.

His e-mail address is

By the way, I have sent him links to all of the patient modesty threads here.

You may see his website and review his program at

My best wishes that this might start something.


At Monday, June 23, 2008 3:29:00 PM, Blogger MER said...

Here’s a book that’s worth reading and passing on to doctors and nurses – A Taste of My Own Medicine by Dr. Edward E. Rosenbaum. It’s also been published as The Doctor, and made into a move of that same title in 1991. In the mid-1980’s, in his 70’s, Dr. Rosenbaum developed throat cancer and went through the “system” as a patient. He describes many of the issues we’re discussing on this and other blogs. There are other books and articles about doctors becoming patients, but I think this is one of the most direct and vivid.

I want to provide you with a few quotes, and I’ll tell you why. On these blogs, we’re giving all kinds of anecdotes, but as Dr. Bernstein says, how can we be sure these are all true? How do we know who’s writing these stories, or whether the same person is writing many stories? Well, this book contains many anecdotes written by a well-known, esteemed doctor.

In his Preface, he writes: “I have heard it said that to be a doctor, you must first be a patient. In my own case, I practiced medicine for fifty years before I became a patient. It wasn’t until then that I learned that the physician and the patient are not on the same track. The view is entirely different when you are standing at the side of the bed from when you are lying in it.”

He describes his first admission to the hospital, and writes: “Then I was subjected to the final indignity: they took away all my clothes and gave me a skimpy piece of cloth. I’m a pretty big guy, tall and, I’ve been told, barrel-chested. When I tied that piece of cloth around my neck, it wasn’t long enough to cover the important parts. It was far too tight and hung open at the back. I felt as nude as a newborn baby and suddenly helpless.”

He writes about being handed consent forms at the last minute, about being afraid to question the authority of other doctors. After he quickly signed one of is consent forms, he tells an anecdote about a scene he had witnessed where a doctor refused to do a procedure after the husband of the patient had refused to sign a form along with his wife. “What else was there to do? I had seen how useless it was to do anything else…”

At the time of his surgery he writes: “The nurse came into my room and treated me like a child. I know she meant well, but it was embarrassing. She wasn’t more than twenty-five years old. I had always been her boss, and now she was telling me what to do. Without asking my permission, she removed the sheet covering me, and there I lay on the bed, almost completely naked. All I had on was this hospital gown which reached only to my belly button.”

He recalls early in his career a patient handing him several copies of a book to read about her condition, written by a lab tech. His treatment of her hadn’t been successful, and this writer explained why. He tells us he resented her giving him the book. Later, when he got cancer, he did some research and found some interesting articles that he wanted his doctor to read. But, as he wrote: “It took all my will-power not to send the articles to Dr. Cade, but knowing my own kind, I didn’t want to insult him.”

Read this book and pass it along to those who might be interested, or to those who should be interested.

At Thursday, June 26, 2008 4:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like I will need Urodynamics to resolve my prostate issues. I have approached most hospitals in my area. I have asked for this most embarrassing of procedures to be conducted by an all male team. The responses I have received have ranged from "don't be so silly" to open hostility and offensiveness. When I have pointed out that females would be find an all female team to be a "given" I have been told i am not female. Most nurses have responed with "I would rather be in the room". My comfort, feelings etc don't even register on their radar. All they are concerned with is NOT setting a precedent. Why do we have male and female toilets, changing rooms, etc and then are expected to see nothing unusual in females routinely catheterising us.
Things MUST change.

At Thursday, June 26, 2008 7:41:00 PM, Blogger MER said...

After reading the last comment, I can't help but point out an interesting court case. Now, I'm not a lawyer. Maybe a lawyer on this blog can give us some more details. But this case is called Jones v. Hinds General Hospital. I found it while researching another case that can be found at this URL

The reference to the Hinds case reads like this:

"Applying virtually the same standards, the court in Jones v. Hinds General Hospital found a hospital's gender discriminating policy, which resulted in female nurse assistants being laid off before male orderlies with less seniority, was justified for privacy reasons. The evidence relied upon by the Hinds court included objection and refusal by a significant number of male patients to procedures of an intimate nature being performed by female assistants, thus precluding all or substantially all females from performing intimate procedures on male patients. Additionally, the court was convinced that no alternative practices with less discriminatory effect existed which would satisfy the legitimate needs of the hospital given the size and organization of the business."

Notice that the key here as the men not only complained but also refused to have the procedure performed by female nurses. That's part of the key. Until more males put their complaints in writing, make them public, and refuse service, the issue will probably never come to a head.

I found another interestint comment on the legality of this issue. The writer says: "...there are many people who believe that the double standard that has been shown to exist in healthcare facilities (viz., the greater protection of female than male privacy interests) extends to the courts. It does not."

In other words, court decisions have not just accepted this double standard. They often back the men. The writer then goes on to cite several cases. Here's one of his comments:

", "Do patients have a legal right to choose the sex of their nurse, especially when intimate procedures are involved?" The answer seems to be an unambiguous "yes." In Backus v. Baptist Health Center and EEOC v. Mercy Health Center, the courts concluded that the desire of Americans to cover their naked bodies, especially from people of the opposite sex, is "a matter of elementary self respect and personal dignity" and has its foundation in the "fundamental right to privacy." In Shulman v. Group Productions, the court added that anyone who would usurp these rights "is the master of the other" who uses the "primary weapon of the tyrant. . . One who intentionally intrudes, physicially or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns [including the provision of intimate care over his objections] is subject to liablity to the other for invasion of his privacy." That's pretty strong language."

You can find this blog comment at:

As I said, I'm not a lawyer. Maybe someone out there can run this by a lawyer or two -- or maybe there's a a lawyer on this blog who can look into this. But, from the research I've done, it seems to me that there are a number of cases that back men in this regard. Men just don't complain enough, and, apparently, few have brought their cases to court.

Maybe the gentleman who made the last comment on this blog has a case.

At Thursday, June 26, 2008 8:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gve, I know very little about the inner workings of the NHS. But you have the advantage of potentially being able to complain to a central authority about the double standard and unequal treatment you perceive. That's a lot easier than here in the US where you have to complain to everyone individually and no one really has any ultimate authority.
There must be a mechanism in the NHS to register complaints. You should do so with specifics given. Little will change if you don't. Be sure and mention the rude derogatory responses you received.

At Thursday, June 26, 2008 9:08:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...


This is the 99th comment on this thread and I want to be sure that we don't lose any comments. I am looking forward toward reading addition comments especially about the legal history of gender selection in the new Volume. ..Maurice.


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