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  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

For background, I have cancer and therefore have extensive experience being a patient in public and private hospitals.

In 2020 I was admitted to the Acute Medial Unit at Royal Melbourne Hospital due to an extreme allergic reaction to an anti-epileptic drug that caused me to break out in hives and a horrible rash all over my body. And I mean all over. I had two female doctors have to come in (one supervising the other because of the intimate nature of the examination) and inspect the rash and symptoms (it was bad- I was delirious and my blood counts were very low, I could have died).

They put me on supervision and due to the pain of the allergic reaction I could hardly move, so my nurse had to apply steroid cream all over my body. The nurse was a trans-identified male. Don’t get me wrong - he was very nice, actually one of the nicest nurses I’ve had (too nice? He reprieved himself by smuggling me hair ties) but I was so deeply uncomfortable having a male see and touch my body. I couldn’t say anything - the public health system is nothing to fuck with, and I wasn’t going to risk my treatment being further relegated to the “too hard” basket by complaining about a male nurse applying ointment to my naked breasts etc.

I was in so much pain and general delirium that I just tolerated it. Looking back, I see another incident that has contributed to my medical PTSD and general mistrust of the medical system. I’ve had non-trans male nurses many times and they ALWAYS ask if I would prefer a female nurse before doing anything even remotely intimate. But because this nurse had long hair and a name tag that said “[female name]” or something like that, I just had to suck it up and let him see me naked.

[Moderator's note: I omitted the name, in case it was the nurse's real name, to preserve anonymity and avoid targeting any individuals. The story here is not the specific nurse, but the fact that the usual sensitivity about male nurses performing intimate care on female patients is abandoned when the nurse claims a 'gender identity'.]


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