Jump to content

Respecting Muslim Patients' Needs

Posted

Respecting Muslim Patients' Needs

By RONI CARYN RABIN

New York Times; November 1, 2010

A woman in her mid-30s wearing a hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering, comes to an urgent care center complaining of leg pain. The first thing she asks: "Are there any woman doctors around?"

She declines to be alone in an exam room with a male doctor. She does not want to be touched by a man who is not a family member, even as part of a medical examination.

It's a hypothetical situation, recounted in a new paper in The Journal of Medical Ethics, but the scenario neatly summarizes some of the dilemmas confronting health care workers in hospitals serving observant Muslim patients. When the traditional health care system cannot accommodate their needs, what are doctors and nurses to do?

More: Respecting Muslim Patients' Needs - NYTimes.com

I hate to sound like an in your face, opinionated, New Yorker. But if she came to an urgent care center, needing/wanting, medical attention, she can take what she gets, in terms of a medical provider, or she can go home and live with her pain/discomfort.

I have had enough of individuals coming to this country, with widely different customs/ideas, etc, and then, when their needs cannot be met for obvious reasons, we are somehow supposed to bend over backwards, to figure out a way to accomodate them.

I am waiting for someone to tell these people ,"when in Rome, do as the Romans do".

JMHO and my NY $0.02.

Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN

Somewhere in the PACNW

Edited by lindarn

CVmursenary

Specializes in Cardiothoracic ICU. Has 1 years experience.

i agree with you linda, but if a female doctor is available, then accommodating the muslims preference would be nice. WHen you walk into an ER though, your really not in the position to be picky.

merlee

Has 36 years experience.

If you come to public clinic, you ned to be prepared to be seen by the doc available. Otherwise, go to a private MD of your choice. Bring your own chaperone if you must.

I agree with the rest of the posters....if you come into the ER seeking tx you should be prepared to be seen whichever MD is on shift. Lots of ERs may only have one MD working that shift , esp in smaller hospitals.

ronnie0513

Has 3 years experience.

I agree that if there's not a female doctor in the facility, then go somewhere else. But also every individual deserve to be respected no matter what religion they follow. I guess that's why i have my own private female doctor being that i'm a nurse as well as a muslim...............

cherryames1949

Specializes in Oncology&Homecare. Has 27 years experience.

It is really all about respect. In my practice I have accomodated Orthodox Jews, Gypsies, Jehoveh Witnesses, and Muslims. We can not always fulfill every need or request but we can respect the person making it. Most of the time, making the effort goes a long way.

just puttimg a spin on things. Do any of us think if we went to a country where our religion was not the predominating religion, that we would get any special considerations?

It is well within her right to refuse treatment by a male. However, that does not make it the hospital's responsibility to provide females physicians or nurses.

One wouldn't reasonably go to a sushi bar and expect to receive spaghetti, but if you're hungry enough you'll deal with what they have. Health care isn't the same as eating, but the principal is the same. People have the right to choice, but they need to make a choice from the options available which, in this case would be treatment by a male or refusal of treatment.

I have had enough of individuals coming to this country, with widely different customs/ideas, etc, and then, when their needs cannot be met for obvious reasons, we are somehow supposed to bend over backwards, to figure out a way to accomodate them.

Muslims can be Americans, you know.

I don't understand how being respectful of our patients is a threat to American culture. I also don't understand why the very same phenomenon that is responsible for what IS American culture is a threat to us either.

"The health care system may not always be able to fulfill all of a patient's requests, but the providers should at least explain what can reasonably be done and what the limits are, Dr. Padela said." What's unreasonable about this?

hiddencatRN has it exactly - no one mentioned that this woman was not American, only that she was Muslim.

To jrwest and lindarn: take a look at your prejudices.

The fact is that even if she had been from another country, it would still be the responsibility of those who came in contact with her to try to provide her with appropriate, culturally sensitive care. Most nurses come into contact with a diverse group of patients; doing what they can to accommodate their patients within the limits of their time and the hospitals resources comes with the territory.

muslims can be americans, you know.

i don't understand how being respectful of our patients is a threat to american culture. i also don't understand why the very same phenomenon that is responsible for what is american culture is a threat to us either.

no one said anything about this being a threat to our culture. it is frustrating to have to deal with people who come to you for help but have demands that can't be met, whether the demand is a female doctor, a private room, a specific narcotic or treatment, etc., etc., etc.

"the health care system may not always be able to fulfill all of a patient’s requests, but the providers should at least explain what can reasonably be done and what the limits are, dr. padela said." what's unreasonable about this?

i believe that everyone who has responded to this post has already agreed that this patient's request should be fulfilled if possible. it would become unreasonable if there were no female doctors available but the patient insisted anyway.

Edited by GM2RN

hiddencatRN has it exactly - no one mentioned that this woman was not American, only that she was Muslim.

To jrwest and lindarn: take a look at your prejudices.

The fact is that even if she had been from another country, it would still be the responsibility of those who came in contact with her to try to provide her with appropriate, culturally sensitive care. Most nurses come into contact with a diverse group of patients; doing what they can to accommodate their patients within the limits of their time and the hospitals resources comes with the territory.

Yes, the woman could be American, but most Muslims are not, and of those who are, most are not native-born. So it's reasonable to assume that the woman in the hypothetical story is from another country.

HOWEVER, the OP has nothing to do with being American or not. It's about requests/demands by patients, whatever they may be, that either can't be fulfilled or would put a great strain on staff to do so.

It is NOT a prejudice to be frustrated by this kind of thing when it happens so frequently.

iluvivt, BSN, RN

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

I think that in the current culture of the patient as customer we have gone a little to far at times. We can not always meet every ones needs. If the request is reasonable I will accommodate the patient and family. If the request impinges on my ability to provide care to my other patients then I have to stop and re- evaluate the situation. I would try an accommodate the patient..but lets say there was not a female MD..then I would tell the patient the truth..they are an adult and they can make the decision. We do not have a female physician available at this time however our male physician would be happy to see you if you so choose. It then becomes their decision. If the women said NO I would even direct her to other medical locations that may be able to meet her needs. I am not unkind...I do what what I can.

Recently we have had several long term patients that insist on playing very loud and very vulgar rap music.....yes it bothers other pts...yes it bother visitors and staff...yes it is really annoyed me that I had to listen to the most vulgar comedy routine I have ever heard while doing a PICC dressing change. Since I go everywhere I do not have a unit or floor....so I usually speak with the nurse or charge nurse with issues like this..BUT I find that they are more often than NOT.........NOT WILLING OR ABLE to deal with it..b/c they want to keep the pt "happy"..there is something seriously wrong with this plan. What happened to limit setting with disruptive patients? What happened to assertive nurses...I am sick of the whole thing!!!!!

What happened to limit setting with disruptive patients? What happened to assertive nurses...I am sick of the whole thing!!!!!

since all hospitals have gone to the aidet customer care model- theres no such thing as an assertive nurse anymore.management tells us otherwise, as evidenced by hourly rounding and canned scripts- " is there anything else I can do for you?"

Edited by martymoose
cat walked accross keyboard lol

RN1980

Specializes in icu/er.

its no longer about "let me do my job to get you better so you can go home" its all about "let me do what you want so you will come back".

its no longer about "let me do my job to get you better so you can go home" its all about "let me do what you want so you will come back".

i actually worked with a doctor who said this- he said it would help with his retirement fund and repeat business.:eek::uhoh3:

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

Urgent care for leg pain isn't a life-or-death scenario. If a Muslim woman refuses a male doctor, that's her decision, but she should be prepared to wait for a female doctor. Would she accept care by a male if a female nurse was in the room? When I went to Urgent care about a groin rash, the doctor brought in a female MA as a witness.

If it was a life-or-death scenario, a chat with an Imam would be in order. She could still refuse care by a man, just like a Jehovah's witness can refuse blood transfusions. It's her life and her choice.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.