I’d like to share a negative experience I had in your hospital emergency room on October 8, 2015. Enough time has passed that I’m no longer angry about it, just extremely disappointed in the lack of professionalism. My journal entry from that night:
Just left Williamson Medical ER in Franklin in protest. My daughter took my IV out of my arm amid confused murmur.
I went to the ER for intolerable kidney pain. I checked in, the staff was nice until…
“Ms. Lewis, you’re probably going to get offended, but we have to file your insurance as ‘male’. It must match your driver’s license.”
“Why would I get offended? Look, my insurance gender and driver’s license gender don’t match anyway. My insurance lists me as female. As a matter of fact, there’s no official agency OTHER than Tennessee that regards me as male.”
(Leaves with my insurance card and drivers license.)
At one point I made what I thought was a comment in a lighthearted tone to my daughter that was in the room with me, “Just because Tennessee is backward in the way it handles gender markers on the driver’s license that doesn’t mean that everyone else is. My work nor my insurance considers me male. If I had come in with a passport or student ID instead then they would have never known.”
In fact, the United States government, as evidenced by my passport, considers me female.
At this the nurse interrupted and said in a matter of fact tone, “Don’t you talk about my home of Tennessee like that! If you don’t like it so much then maybe you should find some other place to live.”
After she walked out, I said to my daughter, “I think she really got offended that I said something against Tennessee.”
Emily said, “Yeah. She seemed pretty irritated.”
It was after that interaction that she returned with a self satisfied grin and a pair of scissors, cut off my arm band that stated “F”, replaced it with one that stated “M”, and threw the other in the trash.
NEVER in 15 years has any medical provider disrespected me in this way. You do not know how hurtful it feels to have your IDENTITY rejected. You will not find a medical record in the past 15 years that has listed me or treated me as male.
I calmly told the intake nurse I’m leaving because they decided it was more important to make a policy decision rather than a medical one.
Also, if you’re not familiar with how EMR, electronic medical records, systems work:
When you check in or out of any medical facility an ADT, admit/discharge transmission, message is sent out to all providers that share an interface with this provider.
My employer, a medical lab, shares an interface with this hospital. My primary care physician shares an interface with this hospital.
An ADT message will go out containing demographics: name, SSN, address, GENDER, date of birth and insurance information.
When this information is received it changes the master record demographics at the receiving system. That system recognizes a change and and attempts to recalculate your test results on recent tests and send updates to the insurance company. Why? Because reference ranges for men and women are different on certain tests and for certain ages.
There is a cascade that occurs and now every provider that is connected in some manner will eventually list me as male.