Sunday, February 05, 2012

Should Nurse Practitioners Care For Pedophiles?

Scharmaine Baker Lawson, DNP posted a question on Facebook that I thought was interesting from two standpoints. The issue is that a co-worker found out that she was a health care provider for a pedophile. The co -worker was offended that Scharmaine could continue a medical relationship with that patient knowing what they had done in the past.
First, one must understand what the definition of a pedophile is. A pedophile is a person who has engaged in sexual activity with a minor with or without their consent. The definition of minor varies from state to state, but for the most part, it usually means a person under the age of 16.
From a health care provider's standpoint, we are obligated to give care to patient's regardless of what their past entails. This includes murder, drugs, child abuse and pedophiles. A regular person can choose not to have anything to do with these types of people, but we often have no information regarding a person's background when they come through our doors. Even if we do find out this information, we have an ethical obligation to take care of them.
But....on a personal view, having VERY personal experience with pedophiles, am I obligated to continue care of a patient once I find out this information? My decision is based on the type of pedophile the patient is. If they hurt a child under the age of 16 without their permission. I am done. If they were a couple of teenagers having sex and got caught and the parents filed a molestation charges against the offender, then I will continue care. That is a huge difference!
What would I do once I found out that they were the child harming type? First, I would notify my boss and tell them about my past experience and that I didn't want to continue to care for this patient. I would expect the patient's care would be transferred to another provider in our office. If it were my own office, I would tell the patient the real reason why I was uncomfortable taking care of them (of course without telling them that I really thought!) I would have to be careful that my vigilantism didn't show through. Scum sucking, pieces of $hit that need to be strung up by their nuts and filleted with a skinning knife and fed to the pigs! Oops! Did I just say that?
You betcha!


  1. This is a very well thought out post. I admire your honesty. As a nurse (and hopeful future NP), and also as someone who has had personal experience with pedophiles, I'm glad to read your thoughts on a very difficult issue for healthcare providers. But my favorite part is the 3rd to last sentence ;)

    1. Unfortunately, I am finding more and more patients who have been affected by this tragedy. It really does change people's lives. People ask me how I cope? I talk about it to everyone that I can in order to help others realize that it's not their fault and that life does go on.

  2. Last spring, the chief medical officer of the company I work for was asked to resign. No one knew why. Everyone speculated...maybe skimming money, an affair, sexual harassment. He was a really nice man, and he hired me, so I sent him an email wishing him well. Two weeks ago, there was a little story in the news that he was arrested after taking his computer to be fixed. Apparently there were 1000s of images of child porn on the hard drive. I think I now know why he was asked to leave.

    I was sick when I heard this. For so many reasons. He hired me. I thought he was such a nice guy. If this is why he was let go, it means my company knew and swept it under the rug. When I said something about this to my manager, she told me not to spread rumors and to move on.

    How can I continue to work here? How many other bad docs work here? How could they hide this? Pedophiles will continue to feel validated if we continue to look the other way. I agree with you. I couldn't care for a known pedophile.

    1. I think the hospital found out about the same time frame. Obviously, that's why he was asked to leave. Worst would be that he was allowed to stay in his position. We have to continue to work to make a living and keep on praying that what we see on the surface is really what is there. It's scary!

    2. What a sensitive topic. I have to admit that I have a whole new perspective now, than before I had kids. I am certainly more passionate about this topic, now. I have been mostly in women's healthcare, so I don't think I have had any patients that were, but I did take care of plenty of patients who have been abused and having a routine exam is quite traumatic.

  3. Working on a forensic unit treating 50 pedophiles poses its own challenges. This is what I am currently faced with after having to decide between this population or a population that increased my risk of assault and disease transmission substantially.

    Needless to say, this experience is providing powerful incentive to continue my education and move into teaching.