Printer Friendly

Women and doctors - guys just don't get it.

Women and Doctors: A Physician's Explosive Account of Medical Treatment--and Mistrearment--in America Today

Dr. John Smith, a male gynecologist and author of the new book Women and Doctors, unequivocally states, "Men have no business being gynecologists. The role properly belongs to women. They are the only sex truly able to understand, empathize with and appropriately relate to women in the already difficult doctor-patient relationship."

Smith, 49, is a medical maverick who upset colleagues by starting the first HMO in Colorado Springs and now acts as a consultant on national health policy. In the book he discusses how research has centered almost exclusively on men, and how the $1 billion in physician's fees generated by unnecessary hysterectomies (Smith estimates that half of them are unnecessary) make it unlikely that alternatives to the operation will be developed.

The book also discusses sexism in male physicians' practices and in medical school training. Most male physicians are good people who are certain that they act in their patients' best interest, but they are a product of the values of the male-dominated culture. And he maintains that many men who choose gynecology "need to be in a powerful and controlling relationship with women."

Smith knows that his stance is more polemical than practical, since no one expects men (who comprise 80% of file field) to abandon gynecology. Instead, Smith calls for a radical restructuring of women's health care.

Among his proposals are changing medical education to help male doctors understand what it means to be a woman. He states, "What I'm talking about is a rigorous exposure to the female perspective on life and males, how vulnerable they feel in the world, not just in the doctor's office. A woman's specialist needs to go beyond anatomy, beyond having babies and periods. He or she needs to be an expert in female sexuality, social interaction, cultural values, anxieties and fears, the total psychological makeup of being a woman."

Smith believes that the new woman's specialist should concentrate almost exclusively on preventive and primary care. "The ideal setup would be female clinics, overseen by doctors but staffed by nurses and other non-M.D, professionals, "he says. Routine prenatal and pregnancy care would be handled by midwives, while high-risk pregnancies and deliveries would be assigned to the appropriate specialists.

Such changes are unlikely to come about through physicians since the older ones are unlikely to see the need for changes and the younger ones lack the political power. Change must come from women prodding their doctors into giving them better care, according to Smith.

--From the article "They Just Don't Understand" by Anastasia Toufexis in TIME, June 1, 1992.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Dr. John Smith's book, "Women and Doctors: A Physician's Explosive Account of Medical Treatment - and Mistreatment - in America Today"
Author:Toufexis, Anastasia
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Sep 22, 1992
Words:441
Previous Article:Pregnancy protein identified.
Next Article:Most little girls grow up to be hysterectomized.
Topics:


Related Articles
The Empty Cradle: Infertility in America from Colonial Times to the Present.
Resolution 2001: Taking Care of Our Selves.
"Brave new bioethics".
BOYS DON'T CRY SURE, THEY ARE PROUD - BUT EVEN WITH THEIR HEALTH AT RISK, MEN STILL AVOID THE DOCTOR.
WAKE-UP CALL : NATIONAL MEN'S HEALTH WEEK AIMS TO CURE MACHO ATTITUDES TOWARD SEEKING MEDICAL CARE.
Culture of Death: the assault on medical ethics in America. (Book Review).
Doctor's office: Men's last stop on ride of pain.
PULSE.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters