An article published Monday in the Journal of Emergency Nursing will hopefully change the treatment of transgender people in hospital emergency rooms. The article was submitted by Ethan Collin Cicero, BSN, RN and Beth Perry Black, PhD, RN, from Chapel Hill, NC and was entitled, I was a Spectacle…A Freak Show at the Circus: A transgender Person’s ED Experience and Implications for Nursing Practice
The article offers a case study for Brandon James (not his real name), a transgender man who visited an Emergency Department in the southeastern US a few years ago, expecting to be treated like any other patient.
Instead, he was treated like a “freak show at the circus” by hospital staff when the female marker on his driver’s license and medical record did not match up with his masculine appearance and preference to go by male pronouns.
The authors point to one recent study, which found that about 19 percent of transgender patients reported having been refused care because of their gender status, and 28 percent said they experienced harassment in a medical setting.
Unfortunately, this is fairly common. From a nursing perspective, those are very alarming numbers to learn about, so that’s why we wanted to look a little more closely into this community’s health care experiences.
–Cicero, a doctoral student at the Duke University School of Nursing