Nov 092012

“No, you both can’t be in the same room, it’s mandatory to separate you and your boyfriend.  On that note, he’s not hitting you, is he? He’s a bigger guy… Have you considered the fact that you’re going to need single-parent training? Men like him usually leave within the first year.” - Clinic nurse to couple arriving for their first prenatal visit.

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 November 9, 2012  L&D Nurse, prenatal  Add comments

  39 Responses to ““…Men Like Him Usually Leave Within The First Year..””

  1. O.o…..Erm…what?!?!?!

    This is just the most bizarre statement ever.

  2. “I’m sorry, but it’s mandatory to separate me from your practice. Have you considered the fact that you’re going to need advertising? Patients like me usually leave after the first visit.”

    (I know not everyone has the option to leave a medical practice, but seriously, it’s MANDATORY to separate a couple? And big guys always hit women? And aren’t most men bigger on average than the average woman? And does that mean smaller guys never hit women?

    This nurse just sounds so jaded. I hope she didn’t say this in front of the boyfriend, because based on the little I know of domestic violence, if an abuser heard that, he’d assume his girlfriend actually had indicated she was being hit and would take it out on her later on. :-( :-( :-(

    So unprofessional all around.

    • This is what I was thinking! Not only is this just horribly wrong in multiple ways, if there really *was* an abusive relationship this is just going to make it a whole lot worse and close any oppertunity the woman may have had to talk to the nurse about it. In no way could this be helpful to anyone!

    • Most places now have an intake question about domestic violence, and they usually do want the person to be alone when asked it so they don’t have to worry about repercussions. Its usually phrased “Do you feel safe at home?”

      The rest of it is inexcusable. Domestic violence doesn’t have a physical type (or gender for that matter)

      The way this was handled with my pregnancy was when the decision was made to admit me, the nurse told DH “Sir, you’re welcome to step into the hall to call your friends and family and let them know you’re staying while your wife and I start the paperwork.” While he was out she asked me about personal drug use, personal safety, and sexual history, so I could answer honestly if there was something I didn’t want DH to know. . . there wasn’t, but I liked the gesture. I’m not sure how she would have handled it if he hadn’t stepped out.

      • That sounds like a nurse who KNOWS her communication skills! We’ve been taught to ask any party to step out of the room because one of our questions is “have you had previous abortions – either miscarriage or pregnancy terminations?” We don’t know if mom has told dad or whoever else is there. Also “do you feel safe at home” is HUGE. Women are MOST likely to be abused and even killed while pregnant … when we can get moms to open up about these things we can get the information we need to protect them.

        Seriously – not everything is just disregard for people. Some nurses are doing their best to protect their PATIENT.

  3. While my husband and I didn’t get a comment that extreme, there was a L&D nurse who glared at my husband and said, “Now was that HER decision or YOURS”. My husband is 6’6″, has long hair and looks like a man who works with his hands (because he is, he’s a carpenter). I think some people assume he’s abusive. He’s far from it!

    • my hubby is 6’5″, weighs 350 and keeps his hair buzzed most of the time, he’s a security officer and looks like one. i’ve been asked those routine questions many times (usually when they havent even SEEN him!)WIC, i dont think the OB’s office ever asked more than a token “do you feel safe at home?” … but also counseling and a local resource center i went to get a pregnancy test… and i can’t help but LAUGH at it. i actually told the WIC nurse once “you should see the bruises i leave on him! He still can’t do the dishes right!” but he was a solicitous and nervouse father to be and went with me to nearly every appointment with #1 so she thought it was pretty funny LOL…

  4. While it is important to have a moment in private with the patient to give her the opportunity to discuss anything she may not want her partner to know, this is not how you do it!!! Seriously, how do people like this expect to keep patients in their clinic? If this was said to me I would have bolted for the door after the few moments required to pick my jaw off the floor…

    • I was at a new doctor’s office this week. There was a domestic violence poster in the women’s bathroom, and on the intake sheet where you write your medical history, they asked, “Has anyone ever scared you?” “Is anyone trying to control you and your children?” “Do you feel safe in your home environment?”

      I think that’s a professional way to handle the possibility of domestic violence.

      • My midwives also had some business cards with the phone number of a domestic abuse crisis centre in the bathroom. I think there were some questions on the intake forms as well.

  5. This makes me mad. First off, just because the couple is not married, doesn’t me the guy is going to run of. Second, suggested the mom take a single parenting class is wrong. It’s implinag she is incapable of caring for the baby.

    I know they have to do a Domestic Violence screening when a woman is pregnant because that’s when they’re most likely to suffer abuse, but there is a more profesional way of doing this. Asking if her boyfriend hits her because “he looks like a big guy” is just stupid. When I had my first, I had to deal with a social worker because my husband yelled at the OB resident at the birth because he was incompent, and demanded a new doctor. next morning the social worker came in and wanted to know if my husband was abusive because he had the nerve to stand up to an idiot doctor. I must have not convinced them the first though because when I had my second, guess who paid me a visit. Same social worker, and this time my husband didn’t yell at anyone. These people need to know there is a right way and a wrong way to do these screenings.

    • I was married and was pregnant with our forth when my first husband ran off (not just a saying, he actually did run off to another state). Being married doesn’t automatically stop them from leaving.
      They asked me in front of my current husband if anyone was abusing me. He didn’t take offense because it was worded well and a routine question. It was also posted everywhere in the office. I believe they asked me when he wasn’t around once too.

  6. If “bigger guy” = “abusive” we have a serious problem. Good thing that’s not even a little bit true at all, and this shouldn’t have been said unless the mother indicated a problem.

  7. Ugh. I’m so sorry, OP. I had this happen to me at Planned Parenthood when I was getting an IUD placed. They wouldn’t let my husband come in, even to hold my hand. I was just lying there crying from the pain, and kept asking for him, and they said it was their policy not to allow significant others into the exam rooms in case there’s any violence in the home. In my mind, the only violence was what they were doing to my cervix!

  8. “You seem to be suffering from a case of verbal diarrhea. I’m sure someone in the office can find you something for that, but in the meantime, we’d like a new nurse to assist us. K-thanks-bye.”

  9. Bigger guy? Compared to whom? I’m 4’11″ and 110lbs, my partner is 6’1″ and about 200lbs….he’s most definitely “bigger” than me, however almost EVERYONE is bigger than me!

  10. Ugh this happened to me to when I was younger. I went into a clinic when I was younger to get BC because it was too much of a hassle to book through my doc due to long waiting lists to see her. I went with my boyfriend. We were the same age (he is a week older than me). When we got there, the nurse immediately separated me to another end of the waiting room (not even privately in different room) and asked me if I was being abused and coerced to have sex. Turns out they assumed that he was much older than I, and that I was being ‘forced’ to get BC because he was obviously pressuring me for sex.

    I get that they need to screen people… I do… but the way that they did it made getting BC unaccessible for me because I was so uncomfortable I just left. Also, IF I had been in an abusive relationship, their strategy was so obnoxious and aggressive that there is no way I would have felt safe enough and comfortable enough with them to reveal it.

  11. I understand the importance of domestic violence screening, but whoa! How humiliating for the boyfriend. The wording makes it appear that they’re still out in the waiting area, not that he’s being kicked out of the exam room. I can only imagine the eyes that would be on him while he was forced to sit outside the exam room while his girlfriend was grilled even further.

  12. I’m a younger mother (not teenage, 23 and not prepared) and several other risk factors for abuse. My fiancee has never touched me, nor did they ask him to leave the room at all during any part of my prenatal care or delivery. They asked my permission for him to answer questions for me but otherwise noone cared.

  13. I’m the person this story happened to. We went to the clinic after JUST finding out that we were pregnant. It was a JOY, we were told that I was infertile, so we were excited!

    They insisted on splitting us up from the moment we walked in. We told them the truth, that we were open about past relationships, and knew about past STDs and whatnot. They accused my significant other of cheating on me, since he was in the middle of a LONG divorce, and told me what was said about him leaving and possibly abusing me. They said it in front of him.

    Later during the visit, they left a silver dollar sized bruise on my arm when they drew blood, missing the vein the first 3 times. It was a public health clinic, and I never went back. I went to a midwife, who NEVER once separated us, and took us at our word and made us feel like we were respected. Our daughter is now 15 months old, happy, healthy, and beautiful.

    • Yikes. That’s just truly awful all around. :-( I’m so glad you found a midwife and you have your beautiful daughter. :-)

    • And I’ll assume (since you didn’t say) that you two are still together and just as happy as ever?! O.o

      Still, I HATE it when they play psychic medical personnel, like that. Grrr.

  14. I am so sorry OP, Some people have no business dealing with the public.

    Why is it that everyone assumes the man is abusive or will leave? It kills me when assumptions are made like that? In my personal life, I’ve been around more WOMEN abusers and WOMEN who have left, so I know that the assumption that it is not always the man who is a deadbeat. I hate that some of us are questioned like this.
    When I told my OB at my first visit that neither one of us had any other partner other than each other, she smiled and said “sure honey, that is what they all say.” Seriously? Kills me.

    • I got this, too, because my partner is quite the fit catch, we aren’t married, blah blah blah, etc, and there is *no* way we were each other’s firsts in her mind. She was trying to work the “well, sometimes not *everyone* is honest about their previous relationships…” and I responded with a “honey, I *know* he hasn’t had any previous relationships”. (didn’t last too long there! waterbirthing at home in a few weeks!)
      So, not only are all these rude OB’s, nurses, and other medical staff not believing the patients, they are trying to tell people how their lives *really* are and looking for problems where they do not exist.
      How messed up do they have to be to expect nothing other than abuse and mistrust in a relationship? That a large man hits his partner? That an unwed couple will separate? That two people can’t genuinely love each other?

    • Yeah, my former gyn had the same attitude…he called me a whore and a liar when I told him we were virgins before our marriage and had never cheated.

      • He seriously called you a whore? And a liar? I think calling you a whore should be reportable …to someone. I am glad he is your *former* gyn. There ought to be some way to warn off other women. Sorry this happened to you.

    • yeah, I get the “he’ll cheat and leave” when people find out hubby is a Marine. sorry people, but he’s quite happy

      • I got that a lot, too. Yes, military marriages do have an abysmal failure rate, but it is usually due to the stress of multiple deployments and everything else that comes along with the military.

  15. Burned. The f*ck. Out.

  16. All sorts of different people leave relationships in a sudden and unstable way, men or women, within a year or after 10 years, and last i checked nobody had it stamped on their forehead.

  17. Can I just throw out that my abusive ex was a tall but super skinny guy? Not “bigger” by any stretch of the imagination.
    So yeah…screw this nurse.

  18. Wow, generalize much? And all this time I have been looking for a Godly man that will lead our household in the way the Lord has called him to. Silly me. I had no idea that I needed to make sure this man was smaller than me so he wouldn’t beat me or leave me! Puh!

  19. Maybe the only ones who stay with the clinic and put up with their BS are the ones that are used to abusive relationships!
    OP I’m sorry you were ever treat like this.

  20. My hubby was asked to leave for a few moments at my booking appointment and then called back in. Many places it is mandatory to have the woman alone for a few moments to ask about domestic abuse. Not because it’s expected, but because some women are in a situation where they need extra support they won’t admit to needing with the partner in the room. I had no problem with this. However, in the case of the original post this was completely mismanaged. You should never accuse a partner of anything, even if you do have to speak to the woman alone to check. You should not separate the couple completely, they should be together during the vast majority of any appointment where the woman wants her partner present and the partner should only be requested to leave for the few minutes it takes to ask the necessary. There are right and wrong ways of dealing with the situation, and the original post describes entirely the wrong way!

  21. I was asked if my husband hit me in front of my husband…

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