Philadelphia Medicine Winter 2017-18x - 8

p h i l a m e d s o c  .org

Feature continued
Sexual Harassment Today
Virtually all the female medical students,
residents and physicians who recently
attended a seminar on gender issues in
the medical profession, at the Philadelphia
County Medical Society, said they had
been sexually harassed during their medical
careers. Unlike Dr. Sheriff, the two dozen
women did not want their names used in
this article.
One physician said, "when the Harvey
Weinstein thing came up, I said, 'yeah,
that sounds about right.'" Someone then
asked her, "that bad?" And she said, "Yes, that bad. My husband
has been appalled by how I was treated as a medical student, as an
intern, as a resident, and as a fellow, and when I got into practice."

These medical students at Jefferson University,
are seen here attending a recent talk by Dr.
Blumenthal on gender issues in the medical
profession. During the talk one female
student complained that male students did
not speak up when a "horrible sexist remark"
was made during clinical rotation.

Inappropriate Touching
One student said the sexual harassment
was so bad that she stopped wearing
makeup or doing her hair, with the hope
that that would end it. It didn't. While she
was in her early 20s, she worked in a local
hospital lab. An attending physician who
ran the lab, and who was more than 20 years her senior, touched
her repeatedly and made it clear he was interested in having a
relationship with her. Other women at the lab warned her about
the attending. They told her not to find herself alone with him.

A resident talked about a suburban Philadelphia hospital where
she recently worked that had a problem with two male physicians
"I would be standing in the hallway and he would corner me.
harassing female residents. "The men got fired. One of the women He would make passes. I would say 'OK I have to leave,' and I
had received a text message and went to her GME office, didn't would walk away."
actually go to her departmental office. But the GME was great. And
The now first-year medical student said the situation was delicate.
the other woman actually went the path of the police. They sent
her in with a wire. And the next thing you know that attending She was interested in getting a match for residency at the hospital.
was out of a job. Those two things were hushed up. If I weren't at "He could jeopardize my career opportunities at that institution."
the hospital I would've never known about them."
A woman was her manager, but she didn't feel close enough to
her to confide in her. She also didn't talk to her principal investigator
because he and the attending were good friends, and he behaved
Online Survey of Local Medical Students
in a similar way. She felt trapped.
Danielle Verghese, a third-year medical student at the Lewis Katz
"He (the attending physician) would put his hand on the small
School of Medicine at Temple University, wondered how widespread of my back, and be just weird, creepy ... He tried to kiss my hand. I
sexual harassment is in the city's medical schools. Verghese, who is asked him to please stop doing that. And he asked me out on a date.
serving as medical school representative on the Board of Directors
"It definitely isn't the majority of men, but what I've found was
of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, decided to try to get
the
higher up these men were, the less they seemed to care if they
some answers, so she emailed a questionnaire to medical students
in the Philadelphia area, including those attending Temple, PCOM, did make comments. The less uncomfortable they felt.
Drexel, Penn and Jefferson.
"My experiences are consistent with experiences my friends have
had
inside and outside of medicine."
More than half of the 149 students who responded said they
have been subjected to sexual harassment. Almost nine out of 10
of them said it occurred in medical school or while on clerkship/
rotation. Two-thirds of them said the harassment was in the form
of sexually explicit jokes, or other inappropriate language, and a
fourth said it was in the form of inappropriate touching.
More than half responded that they were afraid to speak up for
fear of retaliation. We received follow-up comments from some of
the students who took the survey, under the condition that they
not be identified.

8

Philadelphia Medicine : Winter 2018

Groped While at a Social Event
A resident at a Philadelphia medical school was taking part
in a group photograph with fellow students at a social function,
when one of her classmates groped her. "He groped my butt while
everyone was looking at the camera and not paying attention. I
was shocked and disgusted. I walked away immediately after, and
have had to deal with him as a classmate."
She said her ombudsperson has been helpful in trying to get her
in different classes and lab groups, but she has been reluctant to
lodge an official complaint. "I wish I had said something earlier to


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Philadelphia Medicine Winter 2017-18x

Philadelphia Medicine Winter 2017-18x - 1
Philadelphia Medicine Winter 2017-18x - 2
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