My views on mixed-gender hospital wards

7th April 2011

I saw this coverage in our local paper and felt compelled to write a blog about mixed-gender hospital wards:

In my view, mixed-gender wards should never have been introduced. I have been in and out of hospital a lot over several years and am always anxious about sharing a ward with men and I know many women feel the same. I was in hospital about three years ago in a single room and the rest of the wards were mixed-sex.

One evening I remember there was all hell to pay when a male patient went berserk and security was called. He was restrained but it became a regular occurrence with him. After the third day I was told I was to be moved to the bed next to him. I simply refused and started to freak out a little at the thought of having to be accommodated in the bed next to this violent man, who the nurses couldn’t control with out the help of the security. I refused quite sharply and then was told the lady in the bed next to this man was dying and wouldn’t last the night……! I was angry that the hospital staff tried to make me feel ashamed by refusing to this and emotional blackmail was being used. I reluctantly agreed .. but knew I would not stay in the bed and had already planned to discharge myself from the hospital.

I was lucky that another nurse knew of my books (my accounts of being abused) and I was then approached by the nurse who was insisting I join the mixed gender ward and was told I should have explained myself and that they now understood my irritability and anger……… I was unhappy with the whole situation and explained I shouldn’t have to explain my childhood abuse to anyone.

I am an adult from a very serious abusive background and this bought many fears and memories back and feelings of stupidity for not being able to control my fears. We expect to feel safe in hospital, don’t we? Hospitals have to take into account that we are not just patients but human beings with backgrounds and home life’s that sometimes affect our everyday living.

Image Source: Graham Richardson

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