Brisbane GP Dr Fiona Bisshop has called for Queensland health professionals to receive better training in transgender health care.
Dr Bisshop (pictured), who specialises in trans medicine and contributes to QNews, said Queensland doctors often feel they don’t have enough knowledge to treat trans patients and it was putting the patients’ lives at risk.
She said there was “no great expectation” for young doctors to learn how to treat trans patients.
“When it comes to looking at proper medical care, in terms of hormones, most doctors feel they don’t have enough knowledge,” she said.
“Patients have been refused treatment because the treating doctor didn’t know what to do.”
She said people are being turned away or mistreated by Queensland doctors who are ill-equipped to treat their medical transition needs.
In one case, a transgender man was denied a testosterone prescription by four GPs after having been on it for six years.
In another, a trans person went to an emergency department with a gall bladder complaint but were asked about whether they had undergone gender reassignment surgery and had their genitalia examined.
Dr Bisshop has referred to the phenomenon as “trans broken arm syndrome” and says as a result some patients withhold information from doctors to protect themselves.
Beenleigh resident Britney Spaulding told The Courier-Mail she visited a GP when she was 19 because she wanted to start transitioning, but the doctor was not properly trained in administering hormones.
“The doctor just read out the names of drugs until I said one sounded familiar,” she said.
“He gave me no information on how to use it, and I ended up stopping because I didn’t have enough information.
“He didn’t take a blood test to see what my levels were … it could have been dangerous.”
A spokesperson for Queensland Health said hospitals did not turn away patients who were in need of health care and said staff “treat all patients with respect.”
(Photo by Kim Streten)