horror stories….

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    I’ve read some horror stories about being a woman physician, resident or medical student… some mind-blowing things that you can’t beleive have happened in the 21st century. But I’d like to hear more about what you’re up against in the workplace or at school…

    what is the worst experience or worst thing said to you (or a friend) related to being a WOMAN in medicine? For example, I remember one member saying how when she told her boss that she had a miscarriage, the response “thank goodness because your pregnancy was going to really mess up my call schedules” or something along those lines.

    Thank you in advance for sharing.



    Stop me if you’ve read this post before….

    The pre-medical school physical exam could be done at health services at the University I was going to go to, so I made an appt for a few months before I would start first year (1994). The doc that examined me was probably at least 70 and took (what I now know to be) a very thorough history and reveiew of systems, did his physical, then stepped back, looked me in the eye and said “You know, there were three women in my medical school class. One committed suicide, one dropped out to have a family, and one went crazy. Do you really think you can do this?” I was floored. I’m sure I mumbled something about giving it my best shot, but I was absolutely floored and intimidated by that remark. I thought that surely, this must be the attitude of all the old codgers in medicine, one of “expectant management” as they waited for the women to just give up and drop out.

    I really held a grudge against him for that for about six years, until I read in the newspaper that his wife of more than fifty years had died, and he was already retired, and I thought that he must be so lonely that I just couldn’t bear him any ill will. But I hope he didn’t actually dissuade a woman from becoming a doctor.

    Mine isn’t as bad as some stories out there, I am sure. That’s not the only negative thing I have run across, but that’s the one I couldn’t blow off very easily.


    I’ve heard some doozies, but three of the worst comments made to me are:

    1. Who is raising your children? (hinting of course that I can’t be raising my own children AND going to med school/being a doctor)

    2. What a shame you can’t stay home and take care of your children. (said to me by my male chief resident in OB when I was a third year student)

    and probably the most mind-boggling:

    3. Well dear, why do you want to be a doctor if your husband is a doctor? (uh, because I have a brain and would like to use it?!?)

    I still get comments from people that if they were a surgeon’s wife, they would just stay home and not go through all the hardship of med school, residency, etc. It continues to amaze me.



    Hmmmm, well now, let’s see:

    1)I am not one to wear short skirts to work but one day wore a nice conservative wool dress that went to my knees. I was looking at an x-ray when a Urology attending walked past me to a trauma in the ER and said, “Nice legs.” I confronted him calmly (even if you want to or think it the right thing to do, I wouldn’t suggest this girls)and he said he was talking about the xray. It was an xray of a single ARM.

    2)One attending in the hall outside of a patient’s room, whom we had just seen together was quite obviously homosexual. He told me that she obviously was interested in me and then proceded to ask me if I had ever kissed a girl and that his girlfriend had siad it was wonderful, “the softest thing”.

    3)The same attending who lives in my neighborhood, passed out drunk on my chair on my front stoop.

    4)One attending rubbed his hand past my butt in clinic. Three different times. Certainly not by accident.

    5)A cheif resident started rubbing his nipples when I was checking out a patient to him and when I questioned what he was doing he said, “It’s legal for me to do this…to myself.”

    Had enough?
    I have.


    Me too.

    After being told to put out, shut up or get out in response to my complaints about the very obvious harassment of myself and other women in our clinic..I got out.
    only regret is not taking this stuff to the media. It hurts everybody. Patient care suffers due to the hostile environment. Its sickening. I now have a policy of zero tolerance, and it doesnt endear me to some. But its saved my sanity.


    As an ob-gyn resident in 1984, I was told by an attending that women were not as good at surgery as men. Furthermore, this was going to change the specialty forever, since less gynecologic surgery would be done as more women enter the specialty.

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