seX & whY Episode 13, Part 2: LGTBQI Health-related Issues

Jeannette WolfePodcast Episodes

Show Notes for Episode Thirteen of seX & whY: LGTBQI Health-related Issues Part 2

How to take better care of transgender patients when they seek medical care

Host: Jeannette Wolfe

  • Dr Elizabeth Samuels Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University
  • Dr Michelle Forcier Professor of Pediatrics at Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University and Director of Gender and Sexual Health Services

Quotes used are from Dr Samuel and her team’s paper: “Sometimes You Feel Like the Freak Show”: A Qualitative Assessment of Emergency Care Experiences Among Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Patients Ann Emerg Med 2018

Here are 10 take-home points

  1. Delivering Intentional habits to care for our transgender patients actually helps us deliver better care to our cisgender patients too.
  2. Appreciate that many trans and gender non-conforming patients are incredibly reluctant to seek out medical care due to previous discriminatory treatment,
  3. Don’t assume a trans patient is out to the other people in the room and offer to speak with them privately
  4. Ask their name, if different than expected ask them if they have a different legal name, then confirm how they would like to be addressed and what pronouns they use.
  5. Respectfully update other team members about this information so that the patient doesn’t need to unnecessarily repeat themselves. Importantly how we model this message to our staff can set the tone for how these patients will be treated, so take this responsibility seriously.
  6. When asking about past medical history, surgical histories and current medication make sure that you are clear as to why you are asking and how it relates to their current medical problem.
  7. In trans patients that present with abdominal pain, don’t assume because they physically look like their asserted sex that they lack organs from their biological one such as ovaries or a prostate. Remember to ask.
  8. When admitting a trans patient, if a private room is unavailable they should be roomed with patients of their asserted gender.
  9. If not already doing so, encourage your hospital to use software that allows an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity to be included in a separate field of their medical record
  10. If you are a medical educator, look for ways to include an issue
Here is a great resource to help support LGBTQ youth Resources for LGBTQ Students: Supportive Websites and Organizations