‘I’m not a doctor’: I’m ‘just a doctor’

A former doctor in Queensland has spoken out about his treatment of his transgender patients and has vowed to stop treating patients based on gender.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, has had a long career in medical practice in Queensland, but says he started seeing transgender patients around the age of 14 and has since been working in private practice.

“I would say around 12, I started seeing more and more transgender patients, and the more I saw them, the more concerned I became about the health of the patients, so I thought ‘well, this is what this could be’,” the man said.

He said his practice, the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, treated more than 50 transgender patients in the first six months of 2017, including some who had not yet transitioned.

After talking to patients about the treatment, the man decided to stop.

His reasons: He was worried the patients might “look different” or be “not quite as strong” to the gender they identified with.

They also wanted to be treated with dignity.

And he believed “they’re human beings”.

“I don’t think you can be a doctor who doesn’t care about them, and it’s very important for me that I care about patients, because it’s important for my patients,” he said.

“I think there are some who are suffering from depression and anxiety, and I want to help them.

It’s not like I’m the one who’s doing it, but it’s a part of my job, so it’s something I can do.”

He has started counselling patients and told them he does not treat transgender patients as though they were “biological males”.

“You’re not the same person, so that’s the thing, so if they’re male, I’m not going to treat them as a biological male,” he explained.

However, the practice has been criticised by other doctors, including a former Queensland Health Service doctor.

Dr Peter Smith from the University of Queensland’s Faculty of Health Sciences said the man was wrong to “overstate” the risks to transgender patients.

If a patient were to “get a stroke, or if they had a heart attack, or something like that, they would be treated as someone who was male,” Dr Smith said.

Topics:transgender-identity,health,health-policy,healthcare-facilities,psychiatric-diseases-other,australiaContact James AllenMore stories from Queensland

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