Friday, November 18, 2011

You Want Me to What Your WHAT?!

You Want Me to What Your WHAT?!

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from 2003.

There's a great scene in "Monty Python's Life of Brian" where Stan (a man) announces to his fellow members of the People's Front of Judea that he wants to be a woman, ". . . because I want to have babies."

"But you can't have babies," declares Reg, the PFJ's leader.

"Don't you oppress me!" shouts Stan, who also wants to be called Loretta.

"I'm not oppressing you, Stan -- you haven't got a womb. Where's the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?"

It's one of the funniest moments in the entire movie, and I laugh every time I think about it. Can you imagine a man who wants to be a woman just so he can have babies? Everyone knows that men don't have the plumbing to become pregnant, right?

Uhh, everyone DOES know that, right?

You'd think so, but apparently everyone DOESN'T know that.

According to a story in the London Daily Telegraph, this important piece of information has completely escaped an unnamed 34-year-old British man. He asked a doctor for a cervical cancer screening (also known as a "pap smear"), but the doctor refused on the grounds that men don't have a cervix. The patient lodged his complaint two years ago, after the doctor refused to put him on a recall list for cervical screening.

Apparently, the Exeter Primary Care Trust, which is part of England's National Health Service, didn't know men don't have a cervix either.

Once again proving that HMOs are a really bad idea, and that bureaucrats should not make medical decisions, the PCT has summoned the doctor to a formal hearing over his refusal to perform the exam. However, in an attempt to be more patient friendly, the PCT did agree to the patient's request to be re-registered with a female name.

British National Health Service officials will not reveal either of the patient's names, although they categorically deny that it's Michael Jackson.

I'll die a happy man if his new name is "Loretta."

The PCT also issued a statement saying "Loretta" has asked for a number of "complex issues" to be reviewed concerning his care and treatment by "Doctor Reg."

"In this instance a range of issues are being considered, and the hearing is not solely about the availability of cervical screening."

A spokesman for the PCT also told the Telegraph, "We have received a complaint as you described and as required, under the NHS complaints procedure, we are investigating along with other complaints from the individual."

Other complaints?! You mean "Loretta" had other problems the doctors refused to address? Like painful cramping and menopause?

Although "Loretta" has fathered a child, he believes he is a hermaphrodite (people who have both male and female genitalia). However, doctors have examined him and can find no evidence of spare parts.

"Loretta" has also requested full DNA testing and a blood toxicology screening, although he will not say what, if any, symptoms he has to justify the tests.

One of "Doctor Reg's" colleagues said he was "worried that the PCT is so falling over backwards to be patient friendly, that it has gone too far the other way. Silly things are starting to happen."

According to the BBC's website, "Loretta's" claims will be heard at a closed hearing, and will have an independent chairman who will sit with lay members in deciding the doctor's fate. (I'll let you make your own jokes about the committee membership.)

Although no one mentioned what possible decisions the committee will reach, one can only hope they will agree that performing a cervical examination on a man is not only unnecessary, but quite impossible.

The wife of one of the other doctors told The Telegraph that her husband would be "pleased to hear from anyone, medical or otherwise, who could teach him the correct way to carry out a cervical smear on a 34-year-old male.

She also offered a compromise that could put this entire situation behind them. She suggested that "Doctor Reg" perform the requested procedure, assuming a PCT representative could "indicate the necessary part of this gentleman's anatomy, and (is) able to give the learned medics a clue as how they could access it."

I'm no doctor, but I think they could probably access it through the same general area where the PCT keeps their brains.


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