Jan 30, 2018

women and female doctors

new pashkevilim are up on the walls of Haredi towns calling upon the women of the community to not use the services of male doctors but only to use the services of female doctors.

The truth is that intially i understood the pashkevil to be referring to "female doctors", or OBGYNs. Upon rereading the sign, I see it seems to refer to all doctors, and not just OBGYNs. They are calling on women to only get themselves examined by female doctors and not male doctors.

They are also upset at what they seem to think is the refusal of the various kupot cholim to employ and provide female doctors for the community and call upon the people to leave whichever kupat cholim does not make female doctors available.

The good thing about the sign is that, while it quotes things several rabbis have [supposedly] said, it does not bear the signatures of any rabbonim as if this is a call from them. Anybody can print a sign saying whatever they want and nobody can stop them, so this is just a sign from some anonymous person saying what he/she wants - if you ascribe any authority to such signs in general, this one does not even claim any rabbinic authority.

I am wondering why this calls for females to visit female doctors and not male doctors but does not call upon men to only visit male doctors and not female doctors - unless it is specifically referring to gynecologists without explicitly saying so.

I also do not know why the kupot are not providing the necessary amount of female doctors, if the local community is requesting it. Are there not enough available? It is interesting to me that people who do not want their wives and daughters to get higher education, academic degrees and the like, will go ahead and demand female doctors. Maybe they should consider sending their daughters to medical school to ensure there will be enough female doctors available to the women of the community.

People should visit whatever doctor they feel will give them the best care available, whether female or male. Tzniyus can and should be a concern, among other issues, as one takes into consideration many issues when deciding which doctor to use.


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21 comments:

  1. How do I sponsor a pashkevil to go up saying that based on the recommendation of this one we are looking for a few good women to get the requisite education and become doctors.

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  2. Since the majority of Drs are male, there is generally not an issue for a man, who wants to see a male Dr.

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    1. slightly more than half of the graduates of israeli medical schools are female (similar situation in the US), and this has been the case for a number of years now. so it is highly unlikely that the majority of doctors are male (and if it is a majority, it is a very small one). on the other hand, male physicians tend to work longer hours on average, so access to them may be easier.

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    2. And most of the females go into pediatrics

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  3. "Tzniyus can and should be a concern, among other issues, as one takes into consideration many issues when deciding which doctor to use."
    No. Medical care is about preventing injury, disease, early death, and saving lives. Picking a doctor should be about who will give the patient the best care the patient needs.
    Sometimes it may be a man. Sometimes it may be a woman. But if the person best qualified for the job happens to be of the opposite gender, NO ONE should tell a person they should forgo better medical care because of "tzniyus." The underlying belief here is that a doctor simply cannot help him or herself from becoming attracted to their patients...this line of thinking is disgusting.

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    1. in my opinion, people take many things into consideration when weighing best care. items might include, distance to the clinic, available appointments, do I feel comfortable with the doctor or does he/she make me uncomfortable, bedside manner, and on and on and ond. there are a lotof factors and each person picks his or her doctor for different reasons, and the package of considerations is all taken into account when the patient says I want to go to that doctor.

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    2. Rivka: While you are certainly correct in some cases, most medical visits are not particularly critical, and any qualified doctor can be presumed to offer a competent level of care. Therefore, other considerations (be they tzniyut, convenience, personal preference, etc.) may certainly be taken into account.

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    3. Haredi women are more likely to suffer from obesity, anemia, high breast cancer mortality, and lower life expectancy. They are victims of the willful ignorance and prejudice of their rabbis. Honestly, I would've been impressed if this poster had simply stated "Women, please go to the doctor," and left it at that. What this poster does is further try to limit women's health care and preventive care.
      And yes, I realize "personal preference" is a choice. But that's just it: It's a CHOICE. Telling a woman "you may not go to a male doctor" is not a choice, it's an order. And it's the kind of order that may cause women to come to irreparable harm.
      But hey, women's deaths is an acceptable risk when praying to the god Tznius. They're not victims, they're martyrs.

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    4. agreed, Rivka In case it was not clear, when I say tznius can and should be taken into account,, I was not defending the call of the poster or explaining it. I am saying a person can and should take it into account when deciding which doctor to use, as one of a bundle of factors any average person considers, and should decide for himself or herself with which doctor he or she will get the best medical care and avail himself or herself of that care.

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    5. Let me explain a different way then. How about we answer the basic inherent question: What does tzniyus have to do with going to the doctor?
      One could argue tzniyus is about humility, piety, spiritual modesty, and the like. But in this context, one cannot argue that the issue at hand is modesty of the physical body. And the fact that the poster is telling women to go ONLY to women doctors is accepting an underlying assumption, that male doctors cannot but trusted to treat women with modesty. That, given the natures of men, they will simply be unable to deny their sexual urges, and at the very least, lust after their female patients...maybe even act on those uncontrollable urges.
      It is that precise sort of thinking that limits women, victimizes women, and here we see, even jeopardizes their health.
      If a woman needs to see a doctor for any reason, she should be encouraged to see one. Tzniyus should not be something "taken into account." She should be made to feel safe and comfortable, not left with doubt that she is somehow sinning, or worse, causing the male doctor to sin, by seeking medical care.

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    6. some doctors are more aggressive and might make a woman feel uncomfortable (or a man as well). That's all I meant, not that there "should be" a preference for a male or female doctor, just that the interplay between man and woman might be a factor just like many other issues might be

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    7. Rafi, then I am really confounded now. You wrote, "Tzniyus can and should be a concern." By your clarification above, your definition of "tzniyus" in this case seems to be 'aggression on the part of a male doctor, which might make a woman uncomfortable.' This kind of fascinates me.

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    8. I was not referring to the way they dress, though perhaps for some that would be a consideration. I was referring to tzniyus in the way they act and talk. A woman should not feel she is being bullied by her doctor - there have been stories of doctors taking advantage of patients (as there are all over the world)

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    9. Yes, I agree with you, there are sadly many cases of doctors bullying their patients (I have been bullied by doctors lots of times). But I'm still trying to understand your point of view of how bullying ties into tzniyus. In your view, tzniyus here is synonymous with bullying, and tzniyus should be a concern because bullying should be a concern? As in, "women, don't go to doctor for tzniyus reasons, they may bully you and that falls under the umbrella of tzniyus"? Am I understanding correctly?

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    10. tzniyus in behavior and lifestyle. if a female patient feels uncomfortable or harassed or prone because of the behavior of the doctor, bullying, aggressiveness, etc, that is a breach in tzniyus.

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    11. A "breach of tzniyus" on whose part? Both? Just the doctor? The woman?

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    12. i guess the doctor caused it but it is affecting the woman

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    13. Ok. So the tzniyus issue here is the doctor breaching tzniyus, in this case, by being aggressive or bullying. And (in your view) bullying and aggression is a breach of tzniyus.
      So, in your opinion, the change of behavior should really be on the part of the doctors (who are sinning by breaching tzniyus by being aggressive and bullying), and not by the women (who are doing what they are supposed to be doing, visiting a doctor for medical care).
      Yes?

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    14. correct. a specific doctors behavior might be a reason for a specific woman to not use his services. other male doctors might be fine, and even this specific doctor might be fine with other female patients

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    15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Expecting logic or consistency of any kind from the kind of people who post these things is like expecting Hamas to disarm tomorrow.

    The bottom line is that if the printer wouldn't allow his daughters to attend medical school, he has no right to demand female doctors for them.

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