An Incomplete Education: New York Times Looks at Healthcare’s Transgender Learning Gap
April 19, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System
Understanding how to care for transgender patients is "as pressing as mastering dosages of the newest cholesterol-lowering drug or memorizing the latest protocol for resuscitating a patient from cardiac arrest," concludes an emergency physician in the April 13, 2017, New York Times. The author noted that in medical school, she received some training regarding the different needs of gay and lesbian patients, but none on how to care for the estimated 1.4 million American adults who identify as transgender. Transgender people are less likely to have health insurance and four times as likely as the general population to live in poverty, the author said. Potential barriers that must be overcome when caring for transgender people include the patient being registered as the wrong gender before even arriving at the emergency department, offensive reactions from staff members who are surprised when the patient undresses, calling a patient by the wrong gender pronoun, or rooming them with members of the inappropriate gender. Most of these issues arise not from malice, the author said, but from a lack of education.