Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some hospitals get it right

This was an email forwarded to me by the Washington Gender Alliance. I thought it was something that needed to be shared because we do often hear horror stories of how transgender individuals are treated in hospitals but we never hear the good stories.


Hi Everett-area gender variant folks and allies.

It seems like I'm always hearing stories about trans people getting mistreated by hospitals and other medical facilities. Because of what I had heard from around the country, as a transgender person, I was expecting to be treated as a second-class (or worse) patient when I was admitted to Providence Hospital (Colby Campus) three weeks ago. I was very surprised when this isn't what happened. I've asked the Washington Gender Alliance to pass along my story to you because I thought it might be refreshing and even personally relevant for other trans folks to hear about the care the hospital provided.

I was in the hospital for 14 days total, 5 in Critical Care. My stay involved some pretty intimate procedures, including a pelvic area ultrasound and catheterization. But never once was I called by the wrong pronoun. Anyone - from the nursing staff to radiology technicians to the team of doctors that worked with me - who had a question that related to my transition in some way asked me their questions very respectfully, always letting me know that they understood if I didn't want to answer if it made me uncomfortable to discuss it.

Not only was I treated respectfully, but in many situations, I actually felt encouraged and supported as a transgender person. One RN told me about one of her FTM family members and how proud she is of him for completing his legal transition. Another, who had never worked with a transgender patient before, politely asked if I would mind helping her learn more about how medical transition worked so that she would be more knowledgeable when working with trans patients in the future (I was happy to oblige.) A transport aide told me about his hope to one day quit his job at the hospital to become a full-time LGBT equal rights activist. One of the surgeons on my team even spoke with me about my plans for future medical transition and offered to pair a transition-related surgery with an emergency life-saving surgery I may have needed during my stay.

In all, the treatment I got there was above and beyond what I could have hoped for. I had originally gone into the Emergency Room expecting to be made to feel self-conscious and that my trans status would be treated as a roadblock. Instead, I wound up extremely impressed. Hopefully, this level of care will continue at the Colby Campus of Providence Hospital, so that fears of discrimination will not need to play a part for any of us when disaster strikes.

3 comments:

Teagan said...

Thanks for sharing this, Debra. All too often we hear the bad side of being TG, and our community needs to be reminded that there *are* in fact good, supportive folks out there.

Caroline said...

I have had nothing but praise for all but one person I have encountered in my dealings with our health system. The surgeon who performed my orchiectomy was ghastly and less than perfect in his work to boot! It was soon fixed but he remained arrogant and unpleasant to the end blaming my choice of local pain relief on his leaving a bleeder inside!!!

Some still think they are gods!!!

Caroline xxx

Lucy Melford said...

An inpressive account. If only this were universal. Although personally I've (so far) encountered only good things where the medical profession is concerned.

Lucy

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