Health Care thoughts: Religious, Gender and Cultural Issues
by Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt
Health Care: Religious, Gender and Cultural Issues
The Muslim population in the U.S. is now about 7 million, some having been here many generations and others being new immigrants. Muslims arrive with various cultural backgrounds and various degrees of cultural conservatism. Americans of other religions and beliefs also have cultural sensitivity issues as well.
This sometimes creates issues for health care providers, particularly caring for Muslim women.
A hospital on the east coast is being sued because the only EKG tech in the building at midnight was a male and a Muslim female in the emergency department refused the test, later leaving for another hospital.
Culturally conservative women have issues with male physicians and any state of undress. Many women of various persuasions prefer female ob-gyn care.
For most routine care women can find women physicians in this era, for emergency or specialty care this may not be readily possible.
Female patients (of all religions) in nursing homes often have problems with male nurse aides. Males generally do not care as much (although some males have an issue with care from very young women).
Most of these issues can be worked out, but sometimes the issues interfere with prompt care. Patients in more rural areas may have problems choosing providers. (In our rural Mrs. R has a male Muslim primary care doc, I have a male Mormon, so some rural areas are a little more diverse).
Just one more complication in a very complicated system.
This is nuts, absurd, silly, dumb & etc. And it is silly nonsense like this that runs up our health care costs.
The only thing a sane person cares about is the quality of the care. Nothing else matters. (Although one can argue that doctors that despise their patients probably won’t give the best care.)
Note that the prejudice of some “Muslim: women against male doctors has nothing to do with Allah or Mohamed. God told Mohamed that one is not required to place ritual ahead of life. For example, the Holy Koran says pregnant woman and travelers can delay the Ramadan fast until a more appropriate time.
One of the problems with the separation of church and state is that anyone can define his own bizarre whims as part of his religion. No one is allowed to ask whether the whims are in fact part of any religious faith..
My son (BSN) age early twenties was in clinicals for maternity floor and part of the routine was to be a lactation coach for young mothers. A common request was to have a female nurse as a coach. Preferences matter to people… but where do courts help draw the line when preferences matter less than needed medical care? Are the rules state or fed based? Does Medicare, for instance, have gujdance on the issue?? AMA?
People sue all the time in the modern American tradition…some of that is based in the court system itself. We know under certain circumstances and procedures medical personnel can refuse treatment based on their religious beliefs…a different proposition to be sure, but…..
Wow, kind of a grumpy viewof the world.
This has very little impact on cost, in my expert opinion.
I don’t understand.
It has only been in the last one hundred years or so that female doctors even existed. People were much more squeamish then, but they had no choice but to use male doctors.
Also, these conservative religions want to roll back time for women in so many ways, how do they expect women to become doctors or even health care workers if their lives are so constricted?
I’m afraid it is very hard to have sympathy here.
The issue is that others are asked to pay for the religous preference. Perhaps the following you get the service from anyone included in the insurance, but pay out of your pocket some additional amount if you want a specific gender to provide the service. You have a right to your preference but that right is conditioned on paying the upcharge for that preference.
Check your history about who actually went to doctors of any kind and procedures.
This has been a minor issue on my labor floor. At night, when I am the only anesthesiologist in house, an emergency C-section means they have to accept me. There has been some unhappiness, but acceptance so far. Just for context, 30 years ago, female nurses were not generally allowed to place a Foley, urinary catheter, in males.
Note for the OB part of OB GYN it used to be done by Midwives.
Interesting – that explains why my dad was a urological nurse.
Interesting – that explains why my dad was a urological nurse.
And the GYN part just wasn’t done at all.
Steve, Mrs. Rustbelt (aka the world’s greatest nurse) has been placing Foleys in men for about 40 years.
This really isn’t much of an issue for routine care, in most of the country there are plenty of choices of both genders. Emergency or specialty care, issues arise.
Mrs. Rustbelt cried when her male Ob-gyn retired, he was not only an excellent physician but a wonderful person. He did hang around long enough to deliver my two darling grandsons.
She tried a female Ob-gyn, and thought she was terrible.
She now uses a female nurse practitioner who works with a female Ob-gyn. Of course we are way past the Ob part.
Mrs. R. is currently having a problem with middle aged male patient (severe neuro-muscular diesease) who accepts care from females, but not young females about the same age as his daughters. This creates staffing problems and she has to regularly referee (he has pain management and emotional problems to compound the situation).
Problems come in all varieties.
I do agree with you Jan, it is the quality of care that is the most important. I think they are trying to change things just so that it suits them. If she needed to go into hospital at midnight she needs to be happy that there is somebody who can care for her and look after her. I think they are blowing things out of proportion.
As a Muslim, I hate to say, some of the comments here were about what I had expected to find, so let me address a couple of issues that others have brought up.
While Jan is correct in that the Qur’an allows various exceptions for fasting during the month of Ramadan (including but not limited to pregnant women and travelers), the so-called “prejudice” of Muslim women against male doctors (and vice versa) is religiously correct within Islam. Modesty is one of the guiding themes for an Islamic life, and I do sympathize with the woman for refusing the EKG at the one hospital. Steve’s experiences (“unhappiness, but acceptance”) is probably closer to how most Muslims, male or female, would approach the matter, but the case of a woman preferring that another woman place the electrodes on her chest is not an unreasonable request. “Life ahead of ritual” is indeed important in Islam, but obviously the woman’s life was not in danger if she felt well enough to get the EKG performed at another hospital.
As for Margaret’s concern trolling over whether the lives of Muslim women are so constricted as to not produce enough female doctors and health care workers, that “fear” is misplaced. Indeed, my own physician is a Muslim woman, and I know that she sees many other male patients other than just myself. Even if a female Muslim doctor were to say that she would see no male patients past the age of puberty (and I don’t know of anyone who does this), she could still have a healthy practice with a female and pediatric clientele (especially in this part of the world, SE Asia).
I am extremely uncomfortable allowing any male doctor to examine my breasts or below the waist. I have PTSD and going to the doctor is stressful enough but throw a male doctor into the mix and my anxiety increases a thousandfold. I recently cancelled an appointment with a urologist who was male because of the panic attacks and anxiety I experienced because I couldn’t bear the thought of him looking at or touching me in an intimate location. A patient’s aversion to opposite gender health care professionals are not only based on religious beliefs. To give me no choice but to submit to such an exam would be cruel. I underwent a test administered by two male health care professionals and was so embarassed and humiliated that I had nightmares and panic attacks for weeks. I even was taking medicine for my GAD but my experience was so horrible it didn’t help. Why can’t medical providers just accept the fact that there are some of us that are extremely uncomfortable with opposite gender medical care. Every measure should be taken to ensure the patient’s physical and emotional comfort.
I just wanted to add that fortunately I did find a female urologist in my area. She is the only one though. If it wasn’t for that fact I wouldn’t be seeking help for my problem. Women need urologists too. How many men would go to a urologist if 90% of them were female? Women are greatly underserved in the field of urology.