What are the ethical/legal considerations for doctors only wanting to see patients of the same sex?

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For any numbers of reasons.
 

darkjedi

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you would be fired

If you were a female and only wanted to treat females, the field of OB-GYN exists. Even then you will still treat the occasional male though. Similar with urology and males, but unlike OBGYN, there is still a significant percentage of female patients.

Nonetheless, you would never make it through any residency without being able to treat both sexes.
 
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gonnif

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If I understand correctly, as an individual practitioner, you have the right to accept or not accept a patient for treatment (in non emergent situations). As such, you could conceivably and legally not accept patients of one sex or another. However, if you were sued over this and a pattern of illegal discrimination was found based on intent, you could be held liable. For example, if a male doctor who refused to treat women and had a large social media presence with misogynistic leanings could be construed as discriminatory, depending on state law. From a legal tactical standpoint, since the AMA, all the academies, state societies, and the rest of the medical establishment have ethical standards in this area, it would be a tough case to win in front of a jury. Additionally, the state medical board, most of which have broad powers over "moral character" and ethical standards, may be inclined from an political pressure in a case like this, to pull your license or other measures. Lastly, I would worry about if medical insurer not wanting to get mixed up in a doctor like this, pulls your policy.
 
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My surgeon from when I had surgery worked on everyone, but if He was uncomfortable being alone with a woman, he would have one of his nurses in the room while doing the exam. I think that you don't have an argument for NOT seeing someone of a certain gender, there are ways to protect yourself within your responsibility to help.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Terry Toma

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I assume prison medicine would give you the opportunity to work in an all male or all female facility, if you're into that.
 

mostwanted

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In training very unlikely. I don't think certain religious beliefs will prevent you, bc of the deemed necessity.

Ob is a possible option. After training you might have more options such as practising abroad. (E.g Saudi, or other aeab states)
 

Terror Billy

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My surgeon from when I had surgery worked on everyone, but if He was uncomfortable being alone with a woman, he would have one of his nurses in the room while doing the exam. I think that you don't have an argument for NOT seeing someone of a certain gender, there are ways to protect yourself within your responsibility to help.
I noticed this too when working in an emergency department, I'm almost certain it is some type of law that if you are doing an exam on a private area of a woman/anything that could be misconstrued you need a female chaperone/staff present.
 
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Planes2Doc

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It's not a problem if you're an OBGYN, hopefully...

Hopefully this post was politically correct.
 
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hamstergang

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I noticed this too when working in an emergency department, I'm almost certain it is some type of law that if you are doing an exam on a private area of a woman/anything that could be misconstrued you need a female chaperone/staff present.
I believe the law states a chaperone can be requested by the patient. We automatically get them to avoid a lawsuit later.
 
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Gilakend

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Probably religious reasons. I'm guessing OP is Muslim.
Also adding to this just because I thought it was interesting on the front page of reddit today I saw there is a sect of Judaism where the young men wear blindfolds to not see scantily clad women. Someone also posted a response where they were thrown off a plane for not sitting next to a women.

Link: Certain Hasidic Jewish sects travel with blindfolds to prevent young men from seeing immodestly clad women • r/mildlyinteresting
 

allantois

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Pathology/Radiology is probably a better bet than OBGyn
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Also adding to this just because I thought it was interesting on the front page of reddit today I saw there is a sect of Judaism where the young men wear blindfolds to not see scantily clad women. Someone also posted a response where they were thrown off a plane for not sitting next to a women.

Link: Certain Hasidic Jewish sects travel with blindfolds to prevent young men from seeing immodestly clad women • r/mildlyinteresting
The Chasidim are a very small, ultra orthodox sect of Judaism and not really representative of actual Halacha. There is absolutely nothing telling you to walk around with blindfolds on.

Edit: the Chasidim actually follow a lot of their own rules that have no basis in Torah, and most of them view their Rebbe as being the coming of the Moshiach (and since he has died, view him as a Christ like figure). A lot of Orthodox Jews view them as not being very Torah based and almost like a cult.

As for yichud (seclusion), a woman may see a male doctor alone if another employee is on the premises and can disturb the exam at any time. If it is unusual for another employee to enter without permission, the patient should request either the doctor leave the door open slightly or have a female staff member present.

It is ideal that a female patient would see a female doctor, but as long as yichud is observed, it is fine to see a male doctor. I used to work with an extremely busy male Gyn Onc who was Orthodox. He just followed the above and was fine.
 

Gilakend

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The Chasidim are a very small, ultra orthodox sect of Judaism and not really representative of actual Halacha. There is absolutely nothing telling you to walk around with blindfolds on.

Edit: the Chasidim actually follow a lot of their own rules that have no basis in Torah, and most of them view their Rebbe as being the coming of the Moshiach (and since he has died, view him as a Christ like figure). A lot of Orthodox Jews view them as not being very Torah based and almost like a cult.

As for yichud (seclusion), a woman may see a male doctor alone if another employee is on the premises and can disturb the exam at any time. If it is unusual for another employee to enter without permission, the patient should request either the doctor leave the door open slightly or have a female staff member present.

It is ideal that a female patient would see a female doctor, but as long as yichud is observed, it is fine to see a male doctor. I used to work with an extremely busy male Gyn Onc who was Orthodox. He just followed the above and was fine.
Very interesting, thanks for the info.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Very interesting, thanks for the info.
No prob. I was orthodox for years. It was definitely interesting trying to squeeze praying between OR cases lol.
 

NickNaylor

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In psychiatry, it's not horribly uncommon for private practice outpatient docs to not accept "high acuity" patients, i.e., those that are chronically suicidal, chronically psychotic, etc.. So, being particular about your patient population is not in and of itself problematic. You might run afoul of the Civil Rights Act (as sex is a protected class), but I'm not a lawyer and don't know enough to say for sure one way or another.

As others have said, though, in a hospital system it is unlikely that this would be allowed. In an emergency setting, you are legally compelled to at least assess a patient presenting for emergent treatment. Outside of those things, you will likely have more latitude, though I don't know if you could legally discriminate against an entire sex like that. My guess would be no.
 

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As an employed physician, especially one that takes Medicare, you would be expected to see any gender of patient on your schedule It makes no sense for an employer to hire someone that couldn't/wouldn't see hang of the patients and whom may put them at litigation risk.

OTOH in your own practice you can choose who to see; patients can lodge a complaint with their insurance company if you refuse to see them and you can be dropped from the rolls. So the best choice would be cash pay practice.

Finally if you choose Ob/Gyn all your patients will be female.

So ethical considerations: refusing to help someone because of their gender would be considered unethical

Legal: gender is a protected class; employers may be concerned that you'll put them at litigation risk, insurance companies may refuse to credential you
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Guessing based on what? I have never heard of a Muslim doctor that only sees patient's of the same sex nor does Islamic law suggest that doctors should do this.
Based on these:

Respecting Muslim Patients’ Needs

Rules Regarding Looking, Touching and Examining

"Question 40: Is one able to refer to a doctor of the opposite sex for something that a doctor of the same gender is able to do?

Answer: If the doctor of the same gender is able to cure the patient than it is impermissible to refer to a doctor of the opposite sex."

Guidelines on the issue of: Looking for the purposes of medical treatment. - islamqa.info

"If there is a male specialist who is more highly-skilled and more experienced than the female doctor, the female patient should still not go to him unless the situation requires this extra level of experience and skill."

Seems pretty clear. That last link says that even if the male specialist is better, you cannot go to him unless that difference in skill is what will save you, and it is preferable to see a female GP over a male specialist.

But I'm not Muslim, which is why I said I guess.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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With all due respect, there is a lot of variation between the beliefs of different Muslim communities/sects and even different people in the same community. I'm sure some Muslim women do feel that way, but I wouldn't take something you found on one website as a universal truth for all Muslim women. Not trying to be argumentative, there are just a lot of Muslim folks in my metro area and a lot of Muslim students in my class, so it's something I see a little of on clinical rotations.
I'm sure. But just as there are Orthodox Jews who will follow yichud and ask there to be a woman in the room or the door open, there are plenty of Jews who don't care or follow those rules. But that doesn't mean the more strict people don't exist. I have seen it in the hospital, as we had a sizeable Muslim community and a number of observant Muslim surgeons and doctors.

Edit to add:
Also not trying to be argumentative. Just explaining the reasoning behind my guess. I didn't guess Jewish because I am Jewish, and even the most observant of Jews wouldn't refuse to see patients of the opposite sex (aside from the Chasidim, who as I explained earlier, aren't in line with orthodox Judaism--most of them don't actually work anyway), nor did I guess Christian for the same reason. Since my father-in-law lives in India and has never expressed anything about Hindu culture regarding rules like that, I was left with Muslim as an extremely large religion with definite rules on the subject.
 
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