T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 79774
posted 07-29-2012 03:46 PM
I'm visiting Germany and had a condom user-error. Happens to everyone occasionally. So, had a need for EC. Discovered that Germany is in the minority of European countries where one needs a prescription/script to obtain EC.
Went to a clinic to get said prescription. I am so Unimpressed with what happened there. The doctor's consult I had lasted for barely 2 minutes and In No Way Supports the system where one has to see a doctor in order to get EC. First, I was asked if I was on the pill. Answering in the negative, was then asked if I used a condom. I'm sorry, but what is the use of this line of questioning?! I'd like to know what would've happened if I'd been using a different form of contraception that had failed - would this doctor have thought to ask about Every method, or was she going to jump to the judging? Surely a good service should ask "why do you need this medication" and then maybe check in if a person needs any info about how to use their contraception method better or if they need info about different methods. Did I get the offer of info if I wanted/needed it?- No. Then, she asked when my period was due. I realise there's a reason for someone to ask that. But then, given my answer, she said "yes, so it's the critical time" - well yes I Knew that, thankyou... were you going to tell me that EC was not so important for me to take at other times?- because if one doesn't want to become pregnant that's clearly a load of baloney. I'd taken a companion with me because I'm not a native speaker and wanted to make sure I didn't come unstuck with any technical medical terms. The doctor then said To My Companion "She's just going to have to swallow it then". I Beg Your Pardon??! I came to this clinic because I Wanted this medication! I was asked not one single question about my health, my medical history, any medication I'm taking, if I was allergic to the active ingredient. I know that EC is pretty safe and Totally support it being over-the-counter - the fact that I had to have a medical consult that was not Remotely medical is absurd, hypocritical and blocking people's access to simple healthcare to the nth degree. As far as I know, where it's available over-the-counter, pharmacists do a better job of checking that it's appropriate for someone to take. Oh, she did tell me that headaches and sickness and a disturbed cycle were possible. If I'd needed better medical info, I'd've stood my ground to get it, but I just wanted my prescription and to get out of there. I've taken the active ingredient years before, prescribed by a doctor who actually had my medical info, and I feel comfortable informing myself from the medication leaflet, so I felt that I personally had what I needed. But what about people who don't have those privileges? The whole (very brief!) consult felt extremely condescending and judgey; and she had my birth-date right in front of her, and I don't even class as "young adult" sometimes any more. So what on earth would it be like for people much younger than me? How would they be treated? I'm extra-upset because on top of all that I had a significant dose of being-treated-like-I'm-stupid-because-I'm-deaf (I'm also hearing; anyone reading who doesn't understand that is just going to have to believe me, because while I'm usually super-happy to explain, I have rarely felt Less like explaining than I do right now). My companion was cross and offended overall on behalf of me and all folk with uteri, and also said "wow they really treated you like you're stupid cos you're deaf", and I said, "Welcome To The Entirety of My Life". Raah ragey at institutions and rules that limit access not based on medical grounds, and ragey at supposed medics who are supposed to treat people and know something about medical situations, but are instead judgey, poor at their jobs and ignorantly ableist.
Member # 25425
posted 07-29-2012 04:17 PM
I am sorry you had this experience, Redskies. Alas, this jives with my experiences here, as well. What strikes me is that, while doctors make a big to do about needing a prescription for everything, they rarely actually check in about your medical history. I move around a lot, and I cannot count the number of times I have gone to a completely unfamiliar doctor, told them what I needed, and gotten a prescription without any exams or any questions about my medical history. They must have amazing malpractice insurance.
Anyway, please don't take it personally. They were just being their normal, rude, uninformed selves.
Member # 79774
posted 07-29-2012 04:25 PM
Thanks, September. Though, that's, um, not encouraging! I can feel a serious interest in the feminist activism around getting EC available over-the-counter coming on...
Member # 95710
posted 07-29-2012 11:26 PM
I am apalled to heaer that this happened. I cannot believe the judgement you received, Redskies. Doctors of all people should realize that objectivity and non-judgmental attitudes are needed in the workplace. That doctor had no right to scrutinize you the way she did; and she seemed to have no personality, either... What a poor excuse for a medical practitioner. I can't handle the judgmental attitudes around the medical profession and contraception. I remember going to a drugstore to buy pregnancy tests because my bleed was late. The pharmacist immediately asked if I was trying to get pregnant; then how late I was; then gave me a look like I was brainless because I was only a day late (like I wasn't upset enough). I've had many experiences where nurses and pharmacists treated me like I knew nothing; and made me feel stupid and hesitant to go back. So, based on my situations (which were minor compared to yours!), I can't even imagine how you must have felt. That situation makes me want to somehow wave a feminist flag!
EC access should not be judged or questioned; unless the questioning has to do with one's medical history and if the patient has any concerns about the medication. If someone is asking for EC, they are probably already stressed enough, and do not need any extra problems. I could go on for days about this. I'm so sorry that you were treated that way, Redskies. It infuriates me that the medical profession seems so backwards sometimes; especially since doctors and pharmacists alike should be focused on making their patients' lives easier. I hope you feel better soon! [ 07-29-2012, 11:28 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]
Member # 56822
posted 07-30-2012 05:52 AM
That is a classic case of ideas about sexuality being used as an emotional weapon, and enshrined into law, no less! I say go for it if you want to challenge the status quo and you feel comfortable to do so. One thing you could try is to contact avaaz.org or create your own user petition at the site. Avaaz.org is a great social justice site and they have really been a part of mobilising and empowering ordinary people around the world, and very successfully too!
Member # 79774
posted 07-30-2012 09:19 PM
Thank you, copper, for the support. I'm sorry to hear of your negative experiences, too - the world really does need a shake-up sometimes! Although it's unpleasant, I'm kinda tough enough to handle this (particularly with a bit of a rant to get it off my chest
): my main concern is for people who perhaps don't know what they should receive, or people who feel so awkward, ashamed or insulted that they don't go back in the future for some medical care, advice or medication that they really need. It's just not on, and all people deserve better than this. Of course, among groups who are likely to be more vulnerable service-users are young people. (And copper, feminist flags are awesome! Do you know the fist-in-Venus-symbol symbol? Oh yeah. ) I believe there's quite an existing body of feminist activism and campaigning around EC accessibility - Pro Familia, for a start - so if/when I wanted to get involved I'd start by getting familiar with what's already going on and seeing in what ways I could be useful. And, yep, Totally the medical profession should do better around things like this. Some people within it are great, but not enough are even passable, and All medics should be passable at this.
Member # 95710
posted 08-03-2012 02:44 PM
You're more than welcome! This kind of judgement, lack of empathy, and non-thorough attitude of people within the medical profession disgusts me. It makes me infuriated. And yes, I agree: younger people are very vulnerable; and I was quite vulnerable too when I first starting taking the pill. I'm only a bit better - I'll still go to the doctor's or to the pharmacy and get embarrassed - but at least I still go. There are some who wouldn't, and that is where the medical profession is failing. They are here to help us, not make us feel like brainless fools.
I have not heard of this feminist flag, but perhaps it is high time I drew one or bought one and threw it at people who make mad. (And I never thought I'd identify so much as a feminist, lol! But I would want equality and not more power over men, so I still like the way I am. ) Pro Familia sounds like a good place. As I think about so many other things around sex education and society in general: if you're against _______, then don't do it yourself; but don't attack other people for being for it. When I hear of people who slash down anything like this, I get really angry. I agree entirely! At my university's health services centre, two doctors that I had who prescribed me birth control were great. I were able to ask them "silly" questions and they would answer me without judgement or being condescending. Then I saw a nurse once who definitely thought I was stupid... And I sometimes think that one negative experience can throw someone off. The medical profession needs to step it up a notch!