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Sun-Sentinel | Wednesday March 7, 2018
Male doctors are disappearing from gynecology. Not everybody is thrilled about
Some patients wait until Dr. Jerome Chelliah snaps on his gloves to make the request. Others blurt it out as soon as he walks in the exam room. “I’d rather see a female doctor,” they say. Chelliah thinks he can be a sensitive obstetrician-gynecologist even though he’s a man. But he has no choice but to comply. “I’ve been rejected many times over,” he said. “As a person of color, I face discrimination in other ways, but it’s not so blatant.… People have no problem saying they don’t want you.” Chelliah is in a field of medicine where all the patients are female, and it’s more possible than ever for them to demand female doctors. In 1970, 7% of gynecologists were women. Now 59% are. Some men fear the falling number of male OB-GYNs could eventually lead to them being excluded from the specialty. They believe this is not only unfair, but also has subtle ramifications that go beyond patients’ comfort on the examination table. It's a perspective that garners little sympathy among women who had to fight for entrance into the male-dominated world of medicine. “Nobody was worried at all that there weren’t enough women in OB” in the 1970s, said Dr. Barbara Levy, an OB-GYN who trained then. “Nobody paid any attention to us.” Chelliah, 28, became an OB-GYN because he wanted to get to know his patients, not just their medical problems. OB-GYNs often treat the same women for decades, helping them pick a birth control method and cope with menopause. They care for mothers through pregnancy and share in the joy of new families...Read more