Med Student Boasts Jabbing Patient Over Personal Pronoun Badge

A post that has since been deleted from Twitter in which a med student claims to have purposefully stuck a patient twice while drawing blood to make a point about trans rights has unleashed a hailstorm of social media responses.

Kychelle Del Rosario, a fourth-year student at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, tweeted that she responded to a male patient joking about the “she/her” pronoun pin she was wearing by double jabbing his arm.

“I had a patient I was doing a blood draw on see my pronoun pin and loudly laugh to the staff ‘She/Her? Well of course it is! What other pronouns even are there? It?’ I missed his vein so he had to get stuck twice,” Del Rosario tweeted in the post, which has since been removed. It was captured, though, by others on Twitter reacting harshly to the tweet.

The comments by Del Rosario, who is a trans rights activist, were in response to a post by illustrator and author Shirlene Obuobi, MD, about transphobia. Obuobi, who identifies as a cisgender woman, posted that she has worn a “she/her” badge for a year. “I wear it to help my patients & colleagues who fall under the trans umbrella feel a little more comfy. In the last few weeks, several cis patients have berated me for it.”

When Del Rosario’s controversial post was brought to its attention, the medical school responded on Twitter that “this student’s tweet does not reflect how Wake Forest University School of Medicine treats patients and provides patient care. We are taking measures to address this with the student.”

At press time, the medical school and Del Rosario had not responded to Medscape Medical News’ requests for further comments.

Among the responses to the post, one tweeter commented: “This is offensive and disturbing. I am a nurse practitioner and this is a form of patient abuse.”

Another tweeter posted: “It’s concerning that a doctor feels that patients [whose] political stance they don’t agree with deserve what they deem to be ‘karma.'”

Still more tweets included: “We have all done things we regret, but being proud of them is frightening for future patients.” Or as one tweeter opined: “Unprofessional, unethical & negligent.”

According to Del Rosario’s LinkedIn account, she’s a graduate of the University of Virginia Class of 2017 in cognitive science with a neuroscience concentration and biology, working in several general pediatrics clinics and is “aspiring to become a medical doctor.”

Last year, Del Rosario published an essay that appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal urging the US Senate to pass the Equality Act prohibiting discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

She stated in the essay, also appearing on The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship site, that she was a leader in Safe Zone in Medicine, which is “run by healthcare trainees whose goal is to educate health professionals about the needs and disparities in LGBTQ+ healthcare.”

Del Rosario further stated that the role prepares her “to become a trustworthy doctor and advocate for the transgender community — a population which the medical field has harmed greatly in the past. It also allows me to train other healthcare professionals who aim to improve their practice to be more welcoming and gender-affirming.”

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