Tips For Male Teenagers
To Prevent Sexual Misconduct By Doctors
Girls are much more likely than boys to be sexually
abused in medical settings, but that does not mean that boys are
not at risk of being sexually abused too. Boys are less likely than
girls to report sexual abuse. Sexual abuse in medical settings is
more common than many people realize. Some examples of sexual abuse
cases include: a pediatrician, Dr.
Levine, a learning disabilities expert who was accused of sexually
abusing 5 boys and a pediatrician and sports medicine specialist,
Van De Loo who sexually abused some boys during sports physicals.
Important information about patient modesty
concerns: Most adolescent boys are embarrassed to have
genital exams. For most boys, a male physician is less embarrassing
than a woman. There is an increase in female doctors and nurse practitioners
doing genital exams on adolescent boys. Another problem is that
male doctors often have female nurses as chaperones for male genital
exams and that makes the embarrassment much worse.
One health outcomes researcher did a survey with
a group of men and 10% of them reported inappropriate touching and
comments during a physical exam at some point in their lives. In
this survey, the most common groups to be exploited were (1) young
naïve teenagers, followed by (2) guys in their 20s getting
their first required physical for employment, followed by (3) men
getting their 3rd or 4th Digital Rectal Exam (DRE).
1.) It is prudent for you to find a good
male doctor for intimate male health issues. Try to find
a male doctor who is very sensitive to patient modesty and protecting
your privacy as much as possible. Consider interviewing a doctor
to see where he stands on patient modesty before allowing him to
do intimate examinations on you. It would also be prudent to have
a male doctor perform your colonoscopy if you must have the procedure.
2.) Do not allow yourself to
be pressured into having a genital or rectal exam at any doctor
appointments. Some male patients have gone to the doctor for other
health concerns and were pressured into having unnecessary examinations.
For instance if you go in for a sore throat and you think you may
have strep throat, don't spend time listening to a lecture by the
doctor about how important it is to have a genital, prostate, or
rectal exam and that you need one today. If something like that
happens, tell the doctor you are not interested and you only want
to talk about the reason you came in (ex: your throat is sore).
3.) Keep in mind that genital
exams are often unnecessary unless you have urological symptoms
or a genital injury. You have the right to refuse genital or rectal
exams at any time. There is no need for genital
exams for sports physicals even though they are typically done.
You really only need a genital / hernia exam if you have symptoms.
4.) Take along a parent (preferably
your father) or another trusted person for doctor appointments that
require genital or rectal exams if possible - not only for protection
from potential sexual abuse, but to act as another set of eyes and
ears to help listen and remember everything you need to know regarding
the reason you actually are there. The person does not have to be
in direct sight of the area being examined if you are embarrassed.
For example, if you had to have a genital check because of an injury
or a problem, your parent (preferably dad) could stand behind you
or simply turn his back. It is pretty easy to position yourself
so that you are close but still giving them privacy if they want
it. If your parent leaves the room they will often bring in a staff
member to chaperone. That staff member will most of the time be
a female. This will make your embarrassment even worse. Having a
nurse or an assistant present in the room with the doctor doesn't
guarantee that nothing inappropriate would happen to you. Remember
that the nurse or assistant is present to "protect" the
doctor and will often be on the doctor's side. If the doctor refuses
to allow the person of your choice to be present, walk away.
5.) If you are uncomfortable or
frightened with something that is happening during an exam or procedure,
speak up and stop the exam or procedure.
6.) Don't undress or put on a
medical gown when it is unnecessary and/or you feel uncomfortable.
Most procedures and tests, including blood tests, blood pressure
tests, stethoscope heart exam, eye, ear, nose, and throat examinations,
as well as throat cultures can be done fully clothed. If your concern
is an infection or suspicious spot on your skin, only uncover that
part of your body and consider wearing a skirt, short sleeves, shorts,
and socks, to uncover the area of concern while remaining clothed.
You should think in advance about what parts of your body the doctor
should examine and dress accordingly.
7.) You should think in advance
about what parts of your body the doctor should examine and dress
accordingly. For instance if you have a knee problem that you want
the doctor to check out, you should put shorts instead of pants
on so you would not have to take any of your clothes off in the
8.) If you are going to be put under anesthesia,
you should insist that you have a family member or a friend present
for your procedure to protect you. Patients who are under anesthesia
are very vulnerable because they have no control over what happens.
Many patients are unnecessarily stripped naked for surgeries. One
male hand surgery patient had his gown and underwear removed after
he was put under anesthesia. The only reason he found out was because
he woke up in middle of the surgery. Check out Why
You Should Have a Personal Advocate For Surgery?
9.) If you must be hospitalized, it would be best
if you could have someone not employed by the hospital present with
you at least most of the time especially when you are asleep or
10.) Insist that no urinary catheter be inserted
unless it is absolutely necessary. Too many unnecessary
urinary catheterizations are done. If you must be catheterized,
it would be prudent to ask that a male nurse or doctor do it.