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Married Lesbian Says Doctor Refused to Perform Hysterectomy Because Her Sexuality Might Change

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Rachel Champ, 27, of Longwood, Ireland, says her doctors routinely dismissed her concerns while suffering from severe cramps and abdominal pain. She identifies as a lesbian and is happily married. 

When she asked about a hysterectomy to stop the pain, she claims her doctor denied her care because he thought she might one day find a man and decide to get pregnant.

Living in Pain

Champ says she’s suffered from period pain since she was just 10 years old. Her mother took her to the doctor, but they told her the pain was normal. Two years later, her doctors prescribed painkillers and oral contraceptives.

But the pain continued. Over the years, Champ says she developed debilitating migraines, nausea, severe lower back pain, and leg pain when she was ovulating and menstruating.

She stayed in bed for nearly three weeks in 2020 as her wife Karen brought her food and painkillers. Her male gynecologist at the time dismissed her concerns and said all she needed was pain meds.

When she was 25, Champ went to the hospital when she was so sick she couldn’t stand and was vomiting. Her doctor found ovarian cysts during an imaging test, confirming her fears that her pain was anything but normal.

“I feel like I’m missing out on a lot in my life because of the pain that I am in,” said Rachel. “The pain I experience impacts every aspect of my life. I miss work, college, and social events. My life – including my wedding – is planned around when I have my period, because I know I won’t be able to leave my bed.”

Desperate for Relief

Over the next few years, she underwent a series of tests to monitor the cysts, including ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans as well as a laparoscopy, ovarian drilling, and frequent blood checks, but her doctor told her she didn’t need surgery.

She then requested a different doctor where she proposed the idea of receiving decapeptyl injections, which would induce a temporary menopause, but her doctor said he would need to get approval from a superior. To Champ’s surprise, his superior turned out to be the same gynecologist who dismissed her concerns several years prior.

“He sat down in front of me and my wife and told me that decapeptyl would not be an option for me as it isn’t a long term solution for me considering my age,” said Rachel. 

“He said I was too young to consider such a drastic decision. He said he had never performed a hysterectomy on someone my age and he didn’t plan to do so either. He said that it would be a different conversation if I was 45, but as I’m so young and have 15+ years left of fertility, he wouldn’t consider it as an option.”

“I didn’t go into that appointment to request a hysterectomy. Considering I’ve tried the majority of the less invasive options, I simply asked whether a hysterectomy would be considered as an option if I tried his suggestions, and they still didn’t have an effect on the pain,” she added.

Champ says she and her wife explained to the doctor that they couldn’t conceive naturally. If they decided to have children, Karen would receive fertility treatments, or they would adopt.

“I was very open with him and told him that the pain can be so severe and has such an impact on my life that there are times I wish I was not alive, rather than having to experience another minute of the pain,” said Rachel.

“Word for word he said, ‘I don’t want you to have regrets if circumstances change for you, maybe you leave your partner, your sexual orientation changes, you meet someone and he wants children.'”

At that moment, Champ and her wife decided to stop talking about the issue with him.

“We were both in shock, to be honest,” she said. “Both of us left the appointment in tears at how I had been treated and how our relationship was considered.”

“We felt that once he brought up that my sexual orientation may change and I may meet a man who wants to have children, we knew there was no real discussion here. I felt powerless, dismissed and completely stripped of my autonomy to make decisions regarding my own body.”

Champ says she hopes her story will bring attention to misinformation regarding homosexuality in the healthcare industry.

“I hope that it means someone else won’t be treated the same way I was. Specifically, I hope it also highlights the extra barriers that the LGBTQ community face when trying to get medical treatment, and how doctors’ biases can lead to devastating consequences for us.”

“I’d like to think that some healthcare providers might read this and consider their own biases, and what they can do to make sure that their biases don’t impact negatively on their patient’s lives.”

Champ filed a complaint against the doctor in question and is currently looking for private healthcare in London. 

Steven Briggs
Steven Briggs is a healthcare writer for Scrubs Magazine, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. With both of his parents working in the healthcare industry, Steven writes about the various issues and concerns facing the industry today.

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