The recurring theme in healthcare when it comes to being transgender is either lack of knowledge or outright discrimination, both of which I have experienced at the hands of doctors sworn to first do no harm according to the Hippocratic oath traditionally taken by doctors. The most recent case of discrimination I’ve experienced has been downright purposeful with the intent to damage my health and completely ignore my disabilities and reasonable requests of accommodation.
When I moved to New York State, I was under the impression that it was a decent to good place to live if you were transgender. The state Medicaid services cover transition related services if you are in a position like I am in an need or qualify for it. There were also protections for gender identity, supposedly in the healthcare field as well. I was lead to believe that the lax and often dangerous health care that I had been subjected to in the past was just that, the past. My wife and I were excited because this meant that I would be able to finally have chest reconstruction surgery which would greatly lower my level of anxiety and hopefully raise my self-esteem and self-image. What followed was nothing short of traumatic, depressing and put me on the edge of suicide. After waiting months then see a surgeon that accepted my insurance, I went in for a consultation. I never made it past the nurse, who told me I was too fat for them operate on, but did I want to see pictures of what great work they did. I wrote about that nearly three months ago in a post called Suicidal Idealations, that is the impact that first medical debacle caused.
Shortly after the incident with the surgeon I was finally able to get into see my new PCP. The wait time for new patients is something akin to the stuff that nightmares are made from. During my first appointment I told my new PCP, Stephen Sipperly, that I needed a referral to an endocrinologist because I had undergone a complete hysterectomy, which included the removal of both of my ovaries. I told him I might have about another thirty days of my current medication left.
On a side note, for those reading that don’t know, after undergoing a hysterectomy if the body does not have replacement hormones it can cause physical damage to the body. There have been many a transman that stopped taking their testosterone after having a hysterectomy and ending up with osteoporosis or a similar illness. It also means that after ceasing to have my testosterone I start what is called “Surgical Menopause” because I will have no hormones and will not be able to produce any of my own because of my hysterectomy.
After over a month of waiting for the promised Endo appointment I had yet to hear anything back from the doctor, his nurses or the office staff about the appointment so I messaged the doctor’s office using their communication portal. The response that I received was less than encouraging, even though I told my doctor that I had been on testosterone for well over four years, and had given the information for my previous endocrinologist I was being treated as if I had never started transition and was going to have to start back at square one.
Due to the fact that I needed to go to back to the office because of a different issue, a pain in my right leg that has been on-going for over a year now, I didn’t bother to write them back through the portal, instead I talked with the office staff when I went into see my doctor again. (That whole experience is another screw up all together.) After they finally took the time to review the files received from my previous PCP I was assured that they would fax the information to the endocrinologist I was supposed to be seeing and send me a message through the portal with the information for my appointment.
That never happened.
I waited well over a week, and had received a letter in the postal mail about a different referral before I asked my wife to call to get the information for my endocrinologist appointment. Even though my wife is listed in my paperwork as someone that can have full access to my files, call to make appointments( which she had done every time before) and act on my behalf the office staff refused to give her the information about my supposed endo appointment. Even when she asked why the message with the information was never sent to my portal like they had promised.
When I realized that these people were refusing to give me information about my own healthcare through the portal, even though I specifically asked for communication through the portal because I cannot speak over the phone, I started having a meltdown. My wife even explained to the woman on the phone that I autistic and this was causing me to meltdown and I couldn’t control myself, and they still refused to give or send any information about the endocrinologist appointment they claimed to have made.
The woman on the phone with my wife decided that she didn’t want to listen to an autistic transgender man have a meltdown because of their refusal to disclose information about his endo appointment and hung up on my wife.
Several days later both my wife and I received letters from the medical group that our PCPs were with stating that we had been discharged as patients. Both of the letters were mailed to a physical address, and this was after I had previously refused to give the doctor’s office a physical address during the previous appointment and requested that all correspondences that need to be sent through US mail be sent to my postal office. Even though that promised that nothing would be sent to my physical address, this letter of dismissal came to my physical address.
I still don’t believe that the doctor’s office even made my endo appointment or had any intention of making one for me. This so-called doctor’s office blatantly ignored the detrimental issues to my health that they have, and are causing. Now I’m out of my medication, and no longer have a PCP to go to for care in the area. New patient appointments in this area are months away, and in order to see an endocrinologist I have to have a referral from a PCP. This doctor’s office has made sure that I won’t get my hormones for months now, because of their discriminatory actions.