Providers untrained in anatomy, medical needs of transgender patients

Hospitals remain ill-prepared to treat transgender patients for conditions unrelated to their gender transition because providers haven't been properly trained, The New York Times reported.

"I don't expect every doctor in the world to become an expert in trans medicine, but I do think they should be knowledgeable enough to know what they don't know and pick up the phone and call an expert," Beck Bailey, a transgender man and deputy director of employee engagement at the Human Rights Campaign, told the newspaper.

Bailey ran into problems when a hospital endocrinologist told him he couldn't take his normal testosterone injections following several knee surgeries. His primary care doctor had to intervene.

Some transgender men still need pap smears and mammograms, and all transgender women still have prostates and need regular screenings, according to the article.

Transgender advocates also told the newspaper that problems continue with hospitals putting trans patients in rooms with patients of the opposite gender, humiliating or disrespecting transgender patients, or denying them healthcare altogether. If they haven't done so already, hospitals must develop policies that address transgender patients' needs, Tari Hanneman, deputy director of the Health and Aging Program at the Human Rights Campaign, told the Times

The Emergency Nurses Association recently recommended best practices for treating transgender patients, including: ask patients how they would like to be addressed; use the pronouns reflecting the gender with which they identify; and ask only clinically relevant questions.

In addition to providing better training, hospitals should ensure that transgender patients' electronic medical records are up to date with gender-identity information and information about preferred name and pronoun, Harvard Medical School professor Harvey Makadon has said.

To learn more:
- here's the Times article