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Is misogyny a class in med school now?

I am a 24 year-old female with a degenerative herniated disc at L5/S1. I just want to know whether other ladies out there have had similarly bad experiences with male doctors and, if so, what you did about it.

Some background:

I started getting treated for greater tronchanteric bursitis and sacroiliitis in the fall of 2009. In May of 2010, after lots of tests and physical therapy, I was finally diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc. The prednisone stepdown pack they put me on in the fall made me gain some weight, which had me up around 158. I am 5'10" so this was heavier than I feel confident being, but very much still a healthy weight. That spring, I had one GP tell me not to ever gain any more weight, for the sake of my back. (Mind you, I haven't had kids yet.) I also had a creepy rheumatologist "accidentally" tear my paper robe and some DO or something at an orthopedic practice say it was a good thing I wasn't married because my husband "would hate [me]," presumably because of the impact of my injury on my sex life.

Since I was in college when I got hurt, I started seeing a pain doc at my school's teaching hospital. She's great, but the interns and residents stare at the floor while I'm being prepped because they're not mature enough to handle the completely unsexy context in which they're seeing my derrière. I've even felt that some of the male residents performing the procedures are overly rough because they're afraid it will be sexual somehow if they're gentle. Maybe someone out there is into needle play, but it sure as hell ain't me.

So today I had a transforaminal ESI and I drew a male resident. It's winter in Chicago (read: no one other than my boyfriend can see my body under all these layers) and I recently switched birth control prescriptions and my athletic figure suddenly turned into an hourglass, so I weigh a little more because of the additions to my bust line and hip area, but I'm still only about 150. What does Resident Evil tell me? "You really need to strengthen your core." Even with the added curves and winter insulation, I have a flat stomach with two clearly defined ab columns. This is after he spends a good 10 minutes talking about Jessica Simpson's body to one of the nurses and how she looked sooooo good as Daisy Duke, but then got chunky and now he doesn't like her anymore.

I am so tired of it being said and insinuated that my back hurts because of the rest of my (healthy) body. It hurts because of the damn herniated disc! So, ladies, any similar experiences or advice to share? Gentlemen (and only *gentlemen* need reply), do your back docs make offensive comments about your weight or how your back would ruin your love life? To be honest, I'd be very surprised to learn that doctors make these comments to men in good shape.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,845
    Doctors (male OR female) who treat their patients as just an object really are not doing the job they started out trying to do.
    I've seen both ends, I've witnessed female PA's make unruly remarks about a male patient. And yes, there is no question that too many male whatcucallum say or remark about a women patient.

    This is stuck in the Male / Female syndrome. Men in general can get away with a lot more... Why? Because society has allowed that. Women who might do the same are labeled, you know the term so, I dont have to enter the "B" word.

    We are all created equally and as such should always receive equal treatment. I guess for now, those are only words... Some day, they will be reality.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I am in Chicago burbs where and what doctor you refering to? Give me a hint maybe I know where you feel this took place,
    Not often is it appropriate to mention sex or anything sexual in doctors office especialy when male doctor a female patient,
    Between a male doctor and male patient it's ok in my view as I had talks with my doctor as he treated me for long time north part of Chicago and we had friendly conversations as he would say have much sex as you can as it's good exercise for the back,
    So sex conversation is ok to have if you have good long term relations with treating doctor,
    But it would be inappropriate with a new patient especialy a female patient I think,
    It could be considered sexual harrasment but hiding behind the MD title,

    When that hapens I think a woman can speak out and make it clear she prefers not to have this conversation about her sex life unless it's a simple question like does it hurt to have sex, That's it nothing more,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I have to say I've always been treated with respect, but then again, my husband (or someone else) has always gone with me. When I've had injections etc and he was in the waiting room, I was still treated with lots of curtesy and respect, perhaps because by then they had met my husband? I'm not saying someone else should fight your battles, or that its "right", but it does work. I do have to say one time while I was waiting on the dr for an injection, I was on the table with a resident and a nurse.... we were bored to death (surgeon had an emergency so we had been waiting for awhile like that)... so the resident started just taking pictures of different angles of my jeans button to see what we could "read' on the computer screen off the button, we we all decided to find out if we could find my IUD, I was in total agreement (and fascination) since I had on a robe and my pants, but the dr. walked in right as he was taking the pictures over my butt and about hit the roof. He basically told the resident that he should be sure another woman (nurse or otherwise) was in the room before "playing around with the machine".
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,845
    You hit on something that is so very true.
    allmetal said:

    I was still treated with lots of curtesy and respect, perhaps because by then they had met my husband? I'm not saying someone else should fight your battles, or that its "right", but it does work.
    What I get from this, is that you earned the courtesy and respect from the doctor. I would venture to say that even if
    your husband was not with you, you would still receive the same appropriate treatment.

    I dont know how, some people can command respect without saying a word, others need to stress it, some how, I think
    I see you as one that doesnt need to say anything.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Some people are just automaticaly treated with respect. And there doesn't seem to be any specific reason for this. I've thought about it many times. I've had many intelligent, acomplished, respectful friends who have to earn every drop of respect they get. And here I am.... growing up crooked, chubby, and with a wonderful yet FASHION CLUELESS mother and I can probably count one one hand the times I haven't been automatically treated with respect by anyone. Maybe its just truly good fortune, and after reading stories like this, I hope it continues. No one should be made to feel that way.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • about 30 years ago i worked for a company and we had to have a physical's every year. one year i had a female doctor who did the usual turn your head and cough and she seemed to do well with grabbing my you know whats. but she had to do the old prostrate exam and i could see she was uncomfortable. i told her i see a urologist and he did one recently and he said mine was normal. i saw him for prostrate infections. well she had a look of relief on her face that she did not have to do the exam and actually told her co worker that she was relieved, my question is if she is a doctor, why would she be uncomfortable about a prostrate exam especially if a co worker, male, was with her? not too professional in my mind, i did not mind by the way.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Alex, I live on the south side where the health care pickin's are slim, especially since I don't have a car. But some of the incidents happened back home in Delaware, too. (Namely, the robe tearing, comment about how my husband would hate me, and the "don't ever weigh more than this.")

    I have gone with my broad-shouldered 6'4" boyfriend to the Chicago appointments for the last couple of years, but he's not invited back with me and would probably have to be sedated anyway, as spine-related procedures freak him out. It's a teaching hospital and only the nurses and [usually] the supervising doc are the same from time to time, so there's no way to develop a rapport or mutual respect with the residents who do a sizable amount of patient interaction and procedures.

    As for commanding respect and such, I have a follow-up on the books now, which will be my first in... 2 years? So they almost never see me around in anything other than sweatpants, which is what I wear to procedures. Not that I think that how I look should determine whether they respect me. I'm always well-informed (I've read every PubMed paper on my condition), I'm not the type to dramatize my pain either during the procedures or as a result of my condition, and I'm always on time, so I really don't think what I wear or whom I'm accompanied by should matter.

    And, don't get me wrong, I have great relationships with the nurses and doctors on staff in Chicago, and even a few of the residents. I just don't understand why *any* of the bad experiences happened or what the devil to do to prevent them in the future. I survived 10 years of ballet with no self-esteem issues, but repeatedly having people who are supposed to be looking out for my health commenting on my weight, my sex life, or my desirability as a partner, and knowing with each appointment that there's the potential for a lot of unprofessional awkwardness, wears on a girl!
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