Lehigh County Health & Medicine Fall/Winter 2020 - 22

FEATURE

If your abusive partner insists on attending
your medical appointments with you, we know
it is not easy to simply ask your partner to stay
in the waiting room or say no when the nurse
asks if you want your partner to come back with
you. It can be a fine line asserting your right to
privacy during your appointment in front of your
partner. If you speak up, it could make things
worse and you could potentially be less safe after
you leave the appointment. Trust your instincts
since you know your abuser better than anyone.
Your safety is of the utmost importance.
Here are some options that you can consider
prior to any medical appointment when you
meet with your healthcare provider alone and
away from your abuser during an appointment.
Something to consider is to reach out to your
provider before your next visit or if it's a new doctor,
when scheduling the appointment and let them
know you'd strongly prefer it if they could tell
your partner they have to speak with you alone.
Many doctors are starting to screen for domestic
and intimate partner abuse during their initial
intake with patients. If you are in an abusive or
toxic relationship, know that being upfront with
a medical professional is best so they can help
you with options. They will be able to provide
you with information on local resources as well
as document what you are going through. You
might even ask your doctor if you can use the
privacy of the exam room to call your local
domestic violence agency, like Turning Point
of Lehigh Valley, since you may not be able to
make the call from home.
Privacy of your health information is important.
One way you can protect your health information
is to talk with your doctor or staff privately and
ask to password-protect your chart/medical
information as well as update your HIPPA form
to reflect the people whom you approve to be
able to get your information. Under HIPPA, you
have the right to keep your medical information
private. This way nothing about your medical
history or appointments will be discussed over
the phone unless the person calling can provide
the correct password. The word you choose
should be something easy for you to remember,
but not something your partner would guess.

22 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | FALL / WINTER 2020

" When he hurt
my animals,
I knew
he would
hurt me. "
-

Wendy

" I remember
standing in an
elevator with
a big smile
on my face.
Someone asked
me, why are
you smiling? "
I said, " I'm
finally safe
and happy. "
- Jan

We strongly encourage you communicate
certain things to your doctor about any abuse
that may have occurred. Did you know that if
your partner has strangled, attempted to choke
you, hit you in the head, or cause you to lose
consciousness it could lead to a medical diagnosis
such as traumatic brain injury (TBI)? This can be
very serious and unfortunately is all too common.
Abuse comes in many forms and it escalates and
intensifies over time.
It is also very important to tell your doctor
if you are pregnant as well as if you are concerned about your partner trying to getting
you pregnant against your will. We know that
abusers have the ability to control reproductive
choices in their relationship, whether it is
not using a condom or tampering with birth
control. You may want to consider asking for
a birth control method in which your abuser
does not know you are using. You can talk
to your health care provider about different
forms of birth control that may be harder for
your partner to interfere with. They may also
be able to speak with you about emergency
contraception that you could keep somewhere
secret in case you have been forced to have
unprotected sex. If you do not feel comfortable
having conversations about your sexual health
with your current doctor or OBGYN, you can
always call your local Planned Parenthood.
We understand that it takes a lot of courage
to speak up and share that your partner is
hurting you in your relationship, whether that
is emotionally, verbally, physically, or sexually;
it can be scary. It is very important to practice
self-care so that you have the strength to get
through an abusive relationship. You deserve to
be safe and happy in a healthy relationship based
on trust, honesty, communication, respect, and
equality. Speaking up and telling your doctor
can be your first step towards getting the safety
and protection you deserve.
If you are interested in speaking with an
advocate specifically for survivors of intimate
partner abuse, our advocates are available on our
24/7 Helpline - (610) 437-3369. Everything
is at no cost and is confidential. You can also
visit our website for more information at www.
turningpointlv.org.


http://www.turningpointlv.org http://www.turningpointlv.org

Lehigh County Health & Medicine Fall/Winter 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMFall_Winter20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LehighCountyHealthMedicineSummer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Winter19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Fall19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Summer19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Winter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Fall18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSummer18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSpring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMWinter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSummer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSpring2017
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com