“There are implicit biases that need to be addressed.”
A transgender man had a stillbirth after medical staff mistakenly assumed he couldn’t possibly be pregnant, and LGBT activists are blaming insufficient wokeness.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study Wednesday describing the unnamed 32-year-old biological woman’s tragic case. The patient, “presenting with severe lower abdominal pain and hypertension,” was “rightly” classified as a man in the medical records, according to lead author Dr. Daphna Stroumsa of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
When he arrived at the hospital, a nurse observed that he was obese and hadn’t been taking his blood-pressure medications. The nurse did not consider the situation an emergency.
It wasn’t until hours later that doctors learned the patient was pregnant. At that point, no fetal heartbeat could be detected. According to the study, a woman “would almost surely have been triaged and evaluated more urgently for pregnancy-related problems.”
Strousma said this week in an interview with the New England Journal’s executive managing editor, Stephen Morrissey, that the patient’s transgender identity negatively effected doctors preparedness to treat him. His classification as a man “threw us off from considering his actual medical needs,” she said.
Strousma apparently did not view the case as a cautionary tale about the transgender-rights movement’s ideology, which seeks to subordinate biological sex to gender identity. Instead, she saw a systemic failure by the medical profession to recognize the full complexity of gender.
Obese man came to hospital w/abdominal pain. His records list him as “male.” Turns out he was a pregnant transsexual. Some activists & health professionals are blaming hospital for not immediately testing for pregnancy. They want more bias training. https://t.co/dpaPwLDPBz
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) May 16, 2019
“The point is not what’s happened to this particular individual but this is an example of what happens to transgender people interacting with the health care system,” Strousma, whose Twitter profile describes her as a “Queer Obstetrician Gynecologist,” told the journal.
“Putting him in the male box meant that he wasn’t treated as an urgent case of abdominal pain in pregnancy.
The Associated Press reported that the patient informed a nurse of his gender identity when he arrived at the hospital. He was listed as male in electronic medical records, had been on testosterone in the past and hadn’t had a period for years.
The patient reportedly told the nurse that a home pregnancy test had come out positive and that he had “peed himself,” which could have signaled ruptured membranes and labor.
The nurse determined the man was stable and ordered a pregnancy test.
When evaluating the patient hours later, doctors found not fetal heartbeat. They performed a Caesarean section, but the baby was delivered already dead.
Reacting to the case, Dr. Tamara Wexler, a hormone specialist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center told the AP: “Medical training should include exposure to transgender patients.”
However, University of Minnesota transgender health specialist and psychologist Nic Rider said that broader medical training is not enough. He called for implicit bias training, saying: “There are implicit biases that need to be addressed.”
A male-female understanding of gender shouldn’t “mean that we just throw out critical thinking or think about how humans are diverse,” Rider added.
Gillian Branstetter, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the AP that the case was not “terribly surprising.” She said medical professionals have a long way to go when it comes to understanding the diverse needs of today’s patients.