How Sensitivity and Open-Mindedness Can Help You Manage Patients With Body Modifications
Body Modifications and Sensitivity.

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True Stories from Real Patients with Body Modifications

Our radiologist experts are experienced in preparing apprehensive patients for MRI procedures, but they faced a unique challenge when a woman with over 10 piercings needed imaging. The patient became emotional when she learned that her piercings must be removed and pleaded with the radiologists to preserve them. The nurse staff was also trying to figure out how to address the patient’s concerns.

Fortunately, one of our medical staff came up with a clever idea. They consulted with our surgeons and used a non-dissolvable suture called proline to keep the piercing tracts intact while allowing for a safe and effective MRI. This solution highlights the importance of finding innovative ways to provide the best possible care for all patients, even in uncharted territory.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

When dealing with patients who have body modifications, it’s essential for healthcare providers to be open-minded and set aside any biases. A clinical nurse specialist in the surgical intensive care unit recommends that nurses offer acceptance, remain open-minded, and ask questions when approaching all patients, especially those with body modifications.

One common bias is assuming that people with tattoos or piercings engage in risky behaviors. This belief not only reinforces negative perceptions about the patient but also leads to them being held accountable for the cost of their medical care. However, studies have shown that individuals with body modifications are often highly engaged in their communities and maintain a healthy lifestyle, with a higher likelihood of voting, volunteering, and donating to charities than their peers.

Let empathy lead our way.

Tattoos and piercings can have a lot of meaning for people, and it’s essential to be respectful and sensitive to these personal expressions. Some people get tattoos or piercings to commemorate a special event or heal from a tough time. Others may have cultural or religious reasons for getting these modifications.

It’s important not to judge these patients or shut down the conversation with them. They may have interesting stories to tell. However, there are some tattoos or piercings that healthcare providers need to be more cautious about. For example, some people who have been victims of human trafficking may have tattoos that indicate they are the property of their trafficker.


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