Thursday, December 2, 2010

Modesty VS Morals….The Hidden Battle

The various aspects pertaining to the issue of medical modesty can be daunting. While investigating the black and white of it one can trip over an array of gray stumbling blocks. So much so that advocates prefer to keep the subject within one hue, and simply color it “Modesty”. While that is an excellent stand with which to advocate the general subject, many people/patients/clients find that it does not truly express their views. The word ‘modesty’ may not fully convey their needs and struggles for acceptance or understanding regarding respectful care. For them, it really is a moral choice. These decisions need not be faith-based, but are still fully and ethically who and what people choose to be. Or, perhaps these convictions are based on religious edicts, and people have spent their lives protecting that “eternal” path from being carelessly shattered.
Here lies the dilemma of ‘medical modesty’. Have we condensed the modesty issue to such a degree that the significant messages of moral convictions are not being heard? If we insist that modesty be the issue’s main thrust, are caregivers given the opportunity to see the passionate side of morality and damages caused by disregarding it?
The truth is that the medical arena will not respect or defend the decisions of your body the same as you would. Most do not even feel the need to protect your ethical standards unless backed by protocols to avoid legal issues. Instead, they assume the role of psychologist stating that any mental harm while within their walls can be easily discarded. Or perhaps the role of medical pope, absolving you of any actions you deem immoral that they may inflict on you. And marriage councilor, finding any marital damage that stems from their actions to be petty and unwarranted jealousy. Their beliefs become your prison, and this self-serving attitude inflicts damage. So they send broken people home after promising “no harm”, never accepting responsibility for the tornado of emotional or spiritual damage that is now your life.
Caregivers may state that they simply do not have time to consider all of these harms. It certainly seems that if they have time to discount them then they have already found time to consider them. So let’s try to put accountability in their ethics. Let’s let them know the full range of damage that occurs while on their watch. Only when all possibilities are exposed and out of the closet will caregivers ever understand the full ramifications of their actions. Then we can truly and simply color the picture as ‘Modesty’ with full and honest understanding of all the grays.

© Suzy Furno-Maricle 2010


At December 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very hard to talk about morals to healthcare workers because they get so offended. Can't they see we are talking about our morals and not theres?
It seems silly to be so offended by some else's beliefs!

At December 4, 2010 at 2:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I always seek same gender care because of moral issues. We don't really consider ourselves modest types.
If we agreed to opposite gender INTIMANT care, we would consider that cheating on our spouse. What I don't get is why most people don't feel like that. So we always have to waste our time explaining it as if we are waiting for a verdict of our beliefs. The real question is that if providers knew how much damage they caused would they even care?

At December 4, 2010 at 2:59 PM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

"The real question is that if providers knew how much damage they caused would they even care?"

I think that is a very good question. My experience? After many interviews I find that Doctors are much more sensitive to the issue than nurses. But I will qualify that with asking people to remember that as a female I may be recieving somewhat different info than a man would. Any men with different results than I have?

At December 10, 2010 at 12:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Christian lady who made a commitment to True Love Waits (to wait until marriage to have sex) when I was a teenager. At the same time, I thought about how I was never going to let a man except for my future husband to see and touch certain parts of my body. I feel that doctors and nurses are not morally above others. I would only have a female doctor/nurse for certain procedures that are intimate. I don't care to see a male doctor for non-intimate things such as strep throat, ear infection, knee problem, etc as long as I am able to remain clothed.

Some doctors and nurses are sensitive to patients' moral convictions. But many of them are not.

I personally think medical professionals should respect patients' wishes for modesty and same gender doctors/nurses regardless of reasons.

There are a number of reasons people prefer same gender doctors/nurses for intimate procedures. Some of the rasons are moral and religious convictions of course.

At December 11, 2010 at 11:43 AM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

"Some doctors and nurses are sensitive to patients' moral convictions. But many of them are not.

I personally think medical professionals should respect patients' wishes for modesty and same gender doctors/nurses regardless of reasons."

Well said ANON. Patients feelings and attitudes about their bodies should always be respected. Unfortunatly, many have to express a litany of reasons before those preferences are respected. This always leaves the caregiver in the position of respecting someone or not, and really the decision should not solely be theirs.
Whether faith-based, personal choice, or modesty centered, damage can and is done by disregarding a person's own choice about their body.
Thanx for your comment!

At February 11, 2011 at 5:34 PM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

In a comment by Maruli:
In short, I see the problem only partly at the level of individual doctors and nurses. The real culprit is the ubiquitous infestation of people's, mainly of powerful men's brains with promiscuity as a social norm.
Men, who are not only desensitized but just void of any experience of having monogamy as a part of their personality, are decapacitated to comprehend the agony of the women experiencing as a sexual assault, what they consider as acceptable based upon the value system of promiscuity.

Her comment is part of a comprehensive progress that can be read at:

At March 6, 2011 at 9:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to see this Blog is getting "international attention". I'm sure there are others elsewhere in the world with similar situations. Now is the time to speak up "world". Use this forum to express your views so it can be used to spread the nature of the Medical Moral issue and let us all be heard!

At June 25, 2013 at 2:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if a female doctor or nurse that has a male patient to exam, would that male patient be within his rights to refuse to wear a hospital gown, and being naked during the exam. Would this be acceptable, under patients rights or would the doctor refuse to exam the patient. Doesn't this patient have this right to choose, it should be his decision if he has no problem withit.Why would the doctor have any problems with the patients decision. Afterall as stated you are all professionals.


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