‘I want to see a doctor’, that was her request. She had seemed quite well enlightened. Being a clinical student charged to be directing patients according to how they presented, I had told her to go into room 3. Clinic room 3 had on call a male medical officer that hot afternoon. She peeped through the window into Room 3 and came back to say she wanted another doctor. I was stunned!!!
‘Why would you prefer another doctor and not that doctor ‘, I asked politely. I just needed to know; may be she has a history with the Doctor in Room 3.
‘It is not about him’, she said. I just want to see a female doctor’. Wow!! That was my very first experience about how patients show a particular affinity for a particular gender. I decided to follow up on this patient closely. Why was she insistent on a female doctor? She eventually got to see a female doctor, after waiting for over 30minutes, and all the male clinical students posted to that clinic were excused from the clinic.
For us, patients rights is paramount, regardless of whether that patient comes to a teaching hospital or not. A patient has the right to request for a particular type of care, provided it is in the overall interest of her health. But there is limit to how far one’s rights can go. This is another topic for another day.
It is true that in the world of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the number of male consultants is more than that of female consultants. It is also true that there should be no discrimination when it comes to who sees a patient. That is part of the essence of a Chaperone. These truths we must understand.
Every body have choices to make. But our choices should not be to our own detriment and to other people’s detriment. But have you ever thought about it? If you have the power, whom would you prefer… a male doctor OR a female doctor?