Over The Line


A few posts ago I asked if male physicians ever had the same uncomfortable moments with their patients as I experience with mine

Here are a few stories I received from the male side of things but not all of them involve patients… 

“Once I did surgery on a local high school football coach. The procedure went well and I was writing the note outside the room. As the patient was leaving, he smacked me on the rear like I had scored the winning touchdown. I believe it was the highest compliment he could have given but I would rather he had not done it.”

“Some older female patients say things about me being handsome and dating their daughters or something like that but nothing too bad. Also some female patients say things like, ‘After having three kids I am not shy.’ Then they toss their gown off and parade around naked which I really would prefer they not do.”

“Occasionally some female drug reps will say some very, very suggestive things…”

“As a second year resident I did a study with our program director and we were going to present at a meeting in Chicago. The secretary was making the travel plans and she called and asked if I wanted separate rooms or to share. I said separate and that was the last I heard of it.”

“I have a couple of patients who refer to me as ‘good looking’ or ‘handsome’ in a way that makes me a bit uncomfortable.”

“When I was a resident, a nurse at the clinic took a liking to me. I went into the supply closet to gather supplies for a procedure. She followed me in and aggressively made a pass at me. I had to ‘escape’. Later that day she walked past me and pinched my rear. The attending saw it and gave me a lecture about staying away from the nurses despite my protestations that I was innocent.”

This last story reminded me of my own residency program. The list of new residents, complete with head shots, would get published and posted all over the hospital each July. No one cared about the lady residents but the men… The staff would cross out the photos of the ones that were married and drew hearts around the photos of the ones that were “available”. They became targets and were persued mercilessly and relentlessly while the administration did nothing to stop it except to lecture the male residents about how they interacted with staff, as if it was their fault. I know the male residents did not appreciate the attention and I felt uncomfortable as a woman just watching it. That was over a decade ago. I wonder if it still occurs….


83 thoughts on “Over The Line

  1. I find it odd how people want to catch a doctor- just for the sake of their job. I try to convince them- most of the docs I know are excessively uncool. Lol. (Present company excluded- obviously.)

    I tend to not be attracted to most of them. Especially residents. They are going through such a trying time of their life.

    Watching nurses coo at every male doctor under the age of 50 is beyond pathetic.

    Liked by 3 people

      • It’s funny though. You guys pick such a challenging profession- work your ass off to get to do it, and then you have to struggle to make a living or sacrifice every thing outside of your career. Work life balance.

        I hear people say all the time how physicians “make the big bucks.” I don’t know very many that are actually making that much after you factor in all the time, effort, stress… And even if you have a cushy job— you have to be a shrewd business person as well! I don’t know why you guys do it. Lol! (I may be kidding- except- I’m really not.)

        Excuse the babble. That started out coherent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think that is why a lot of women pursue male physicians so much, the perception of vast sums of money and the guarantee of an easy life, perhaps? Not the reality to be sure. It has to be a calling or the negative will consume you.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. Sexual misbehavior is equally apportioned between the sexes. Regarding such problems, the medical profession only differs from the military in that you doc’s mostly go home every night. We, however, deployed for months at a time and in stressful situations. There were no women on my ships back in my time but I can only imagine how it must be out there these days. Equality is all well and good in the right context, but putting women in combat roles ranks right up there with invading Russia in the winter. IMHO.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I was watching Mighty Ships on Discovery the other day and they have a lot of women sailors. The Coast Guard ship Betholf is really a warship and they have one whole shift on the bridge that is women – they seem to have put them together deliberately. They ran that ship just as aggressively and efficiently as any male. I wondered at the time if this was the Coast Guard’s way of addressing abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For a period i had two jobs and the second was as a waitress, I worked alongside a very handsome young man. Once when he was out on the floor, leaning across to clear a plate a woman pinched his bum and said something flippant. My friend stormed back into the kitchen in High Fury! Terribly insulted. Told us all about it, red in the face and mad as a hornet. Refusing to serve the table again. I was head waitress at the time and tried to be kind but all us girls just wanted to throw our aprons over our faces and scream with laughter. Poor fella. Have a lovely weekend! c

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Your male doctors’ experiences are very similar to experiences I’ve had with women over the years. To be honest though Victo I have a hard time being indignant because I never felt threatened by advances as i knew I could physically and mentally destroy the majority of women if i so chose.

    Liked by 3 people

    • This is what makes the difference. We all feel humiliated, degraded. Women, however, are probably much more likely to feel threatened. I had a “stalker” a few months ago. He would call my clinic every day and tell the staff he was a physician I had been in residency with (he wasn’t) and that I needed to come get him, that he had my keys (I went and double checked my purse), he had a gift for me, etc. it was very, very upsetting not because he did anything to me physically. It was because he COULD do something. He can easily find out who I am, where my kids go to school. He already knew where I worked.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Stupid hypocrisy by some women who want a so-called handsome doctor guy in ..a hospital environment?
    It probably does still happen in a more covert way. I think my doctor -sister would be snickering/scornfully away. The romanticism of medicine (not the blood, patients sneezing their colds at the doctor. Well, s/he is human too and gets germs…), saviour in white lab coat, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It still occurs!! In my own experience, I worked part time as a unit secretary in nursing school…. and had first row seats to the antics by both doctors and nurses pursuing each other. A single doctor, or not single but good looking was considered fair game if he wasn’t walking around with his wife. My own husband, before we were dating was a friend of mine. He would show me pages from various secretaries and nurses while he was on call overnight at the hospital… very suggestive things.. some of the nurses confessed to him that they would d EKG’s on each other and then page him to come read them…. I got the impression that much of the attention was because these guys were doctors. put the same guy in a UPS uniform and he wouldn’t get the same attention. The power of that title is almost rock star status sometimes. conversely, also why a lot of docs get treated poorly by people who just assume they are rich, arrogant, asses.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I was younger and “all that and a bag of chips”, I used to give it right back to any guy who came on to me…only a little more so. Funny how that turned them off. It is all really about being a predator.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Odd things! I don’t remember anyone harassing female doctors more than male ones, but most patients and their attendants almost always assumed that the women wearing steths around their necks were nurses, not doctors. There were the odd proposals and asking out for dates, but I don’t think that constitutes harassment – most guys could barely get the courage up to ask a girl out even once. Med Reps, on the other hand, were a different story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting but not surprising but these things happen in all professions and forms of business. I’ve seen it all on both sides. I was pursued by an intern and we dated briefly. He was not my type and I did not care if he was an MD or not. I could not go after a man simply because he had status as a doctor. MD does not mean that someone is a “catch.” I married for love and have never regretted that my husband and I were never wealthy.


  10. I worked at a residency years ago. There were cute residents but I never noticed anything aggressive like that. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You wonder if this still happens today ?
    There’s a few things that unfortunately never “go out of style” .. depravity, greed and war.. I’d say that it’s a good bet that it happens a lot more often than it did, even from just a few short years ago..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: My Article Read (4-9-2016) – My Daily Musing

  13. A very interesting read… also a real can of worms!
    I think some things MAY have changed inasmuch as the public are a little more ‘educated’ about what qualifies as sexual harassment. However, what hasn’t shifted particularly, is the age old perception that lovely, fragrant women are somehow incapable of such things whereas the virile, red blooded, oat-sowing male present more of a threat.
    Social conditioning?
    I’m not sure! I just know that some things never change!


    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very interesting… Working in a female dominated area of medicine, with a female-only patient population, I never really think of or encounter these things. The “worst” we get is the ladies refusing to have the male students or junior residents not be involved in their care.

    Liked by 1 person

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