One for all? Are physicians prepared to deliver care to the LGBTQIA+ community?

doctors ifmsa

(Jafar Ahmed, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Katherine Candelario, a fourth-year medical student at O&M Medical School in the Dominican Republic. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


In society, standing out can cause quite a ruckus, especially when part of the very essence of who you are, runs against the beliefs of many individuals worldwide. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community have struggled to find their voice over time, not only from a social standpoint, but also in healthcare. 56 percent of LGBTQIA+ individuals have felt discriminated against while seeking medical attention, either because medical intake forms don’t provide proper gender designation or there is an overt refusal of health services or information by the provider. (1)

As medical students, we are taught to cater to all populations, no matter the gender, their beliefs, race or preferences. This doesn’t only involve providing medical attention to the person seeking it, it includes having basic knowledge about the community and their wants and needs regarding health. In a survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, more than 50 percent of the participants reported having to explain aspects of LGBTQIA+ health necessities to the physician or nurse providing care. This demonstrates that there is a gap in knowledge, which can ultimately lead to less access of healthcare by members of the LGBTQIA+ community in order to avoid these situations. (1)

The same survey previously mentioned also found that one in every four LGBTQIA+ members have reported encountering some form of medical discrimination in the last year alone. As a result of the aforementioned forms of disregard for this population, LGBTQIA+ members tend to put off seeking healthcare, in order to avoid all of these situations. (2)

As a medical student, I believe there are ways we can make improvements that will, in the long run, allow for a more inclusive form of healthcare. Customizing patient intake forms or consulting the “Guidelines of Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Patients”, which was created by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, are two simple but very effective ways to show members of the LGBTQIA+ community that we are here to help them, with no discrimination in mind, whatsoever.

Overall, I would encourage all medical students and current doctors, all over the world, to learn the basics about the LGBTQIA+ community, and how we can all offer the best form of healthcare to them. Sometimes just doing small and simple things, such as using the correct pronouns can create a more comfortable environment for patients and ultimately help build a better, more concrete doctor-patient relationship, which benefits everyone when providing healthcare. I believe there is still a long way to go before dignified medical care that is completely non-discriminatory is offered, but through minor changes, we can make a bid difference.

References

  1. New report reveals rampant discrimination against transgender people by health providers, high HIV rates and widespread lack of access to necessary care – National LGBTQ Task Force [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jun 28]. Available from: https://www.thetaskforce.org/new-report-reveals-rampant-discrimination-against-transgender-people-by-health-providers-high-hiv-rates-and-widespread-lack-of-access-to-necessary-care-2/
  2. “Discrimination is doing its dirty work”: a new survey looks at the effects of anti-LGBTQ hate – Vox [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jun 28]. Available from: https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/5/2/15505132/lgbtq-discrimination-cap-survey
  3. Creating an LGBTQ-friendly practice | American Medical Association [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jun 28]. Available from: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/population-care/creating-lgbtq-friendly-practice

About the author

Katherine Candelario is a fourth-year medical student at O&M Medical School in the Dominican Republic. In 2015, she joined the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations and has served as a Local Coordinator of the Standing Committee on Public Health as well as editor/translator for the publication support division (PSD) and coordinator of a weekly newsletter for IFMSA-Dominican Republic. She has shared her experiences in health as a medical student through five publications in the IFMSA Medical Student International. She also participates in community service activities of other local and international organizations in the Dominican Republic.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

Central banking in times of complexity

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

Alexis Tsipras against internal and external “enemies” in pursue of a two-phase deal now

On the first day of 2019, over 395,000 babies to be born worldwide: UNICEF

Why the financial scandals multiply?

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

Nigeria: Armed conflict continues to uproot thousands, driving up humanitarian need

“The Belt and Road Initiative should be mutually beneficial for EU and China and every participating country”, Vice-President Papadimoulis of the European Parliament underscores from European Business Summit 2018

These are the fastest trains in the world

Does May have enough time in Parliament to table a soft Brexit deal?

The cost of healthcare is rising in ASEAN. How can nations get the most for their money?

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

It’s ‘time for concrete action’ says UN chief, welcoming inter-Korean agreement

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

How to fix our planet: the pioneers fighting to bring nature back

China rare earth prices soar on their potential role in trade war

Venezuela: Competing US, Russia resolutions fail to pass in Security Council

How universities can become a platform for social change

Why do medical students have to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Back to school: Schoolchildren to receive milk, fruits and vegetables at school thanks to EU programme

Crucial medical supplies airlifted to north-east Syria to meet ‘desperate need’

Trade is not a weapon. Let’s not use it as one

EU-US trade agreement talks to be affected by American bugs

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets. What does this mean for entrepreneurs?

These artists created a huge open library – and their idea’s gone global

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

Climate change update: will the UN member states regain momentum despite the little progress at COP23?

Strengthening the rule of law through increased awareness, an annual monitoring cycle and more effective enforcement

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Merkel refuses to consider the North-South schism of Eurozone

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

Entrepreneurship in a newly shaped Europe: what is the survival kit for a young Catalan and British entrepreneur in 2018?

The gender gap of medicine in 2018

Trade Committee advocates lower tariffs in Western Sahara

EU-wide protection and support for whistle-blowers

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

The JADE Spring Conference 2017 is casting its shadows before

What Merkel and Macron are to tell Trump in Davos?

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Deadly swine fever threatens Asia, UN agriculture agency warns, urging regional collaboration

Central African Republic: UN chief hails signing of new peace agreement

Quality Internships: Towards a Toolkit for Employers

I have a rare disease. This is my hope for the future of medicine

2016 crisis update: the year of the Red Fire Monkey burns the world’s markets down

Currency Union might not let an independent Scotland join the EU as the “Yes” front now leads

UN boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis

In this Tokyo cafe, the waiters are robots operated remotely by people with disabilities

The current devaluation of primary health care professionals

What has changed in the French politico-economic horizon

EU deserves the title of the Syrian affair merchandiser

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris and beyond: EU action and what COP21 should deliver”, Green MEP Keith Taylor discusses from Brussels 

Commission caps charges on card and Internet payments and enforces competition

Medicine and mental health: relax, the doctor is a lifelong learner

Over 330,000 Congolese migrants at risk after mass deportations from Angola – UN rights chief

Fairer, simpler, more flexible EU farm policy: MEPs vote on post-2020 reform

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s