"Just let one of the girls do it."
We have a substitute attending today, and I think he's stuck in the 1940s. Out of the three interns on my team today, I'm the only guy-- the other two are women. And all throughout rounds, the attending is talking directly to me, as if I'm the only one who matters. I kept trying to avert eye contact, to look at my co-interns, anything to divert his attention. And then we get to one of my patients, who needed some gauze re-wrapped, and I lean over to do it and he stops me and says,
"Just let one of the girls do it,"
and he gestures to one of my co-interns. I was like, "no, it's my patient, it's fine," but he insisted, and made one of the other interns re-wrap the gauze. He also told one of the interns she looked pretty, and asked the other one if she had a husband yet. She said she doesn't, and he gave her a look.
It's weird, women have been doctors for a long time now-- and in fact there are more women than men in the residency program, and I think more than 50% of new medical graduates nationwide are women-- but there's still definitely second-class treatment.
Seems like every other day one of the female interns is complaining that a patient thought she was a nurse, or asked to speak to the doctor when she was standing right there. It's like they can't believe their doctor can be a woman.
Which is silly, and I feel bad for my colleagues who have to deal with it-- I've been asked a few times if I'm a nurse, mostly in moments when I've been completely incompetently trying to draw a patient's blood, or running around like a lunatic when a family members stops me in the hall-- but it's nothing like what the female interns and residents experience.
And it's one thing if it's patients who are ignorant, but for it to be the attendings, it's a little more unfortunate.