Waynesville woman creates nonprofit to help promote medical patient modestyWalkathon, silent auction set for Sept. 21
A nonprofit headed by Misty Roberts, a deaf Waynesville woman, is seeking to help promote better patient modesty in medical settings and help medical professionals be more sensitive to the importance of patient modesty.
Roberts, who graduated from Western Carolina University in 2001 with a degree in computer information systems, designed a website in 2009 with information about patient modesty concerns and information about how patients could stand up for their wishes to modesty in medical settings. The website began to attract online traffic, and the organization Medical Patient Modesty was formed, acquiring 501c3 status in December 2011.
Now, the site, http://www.patientmodesty.org, gets at least 200 unique visitors each day from all over the United States and other countries. Information on the website covers a wide variety of topics like what medical procedures may be unnecessary, problems with medical gowns, patient modesty and the elderly and reasons for a home birth.
In addition to the promotion of the importance of patient modesty, the organization aims to help patients and families who wish to have same gender care for certain procedures and/or surgeries have those wishes honored.
"We encourage patients to stand up for their rights to modesty and speak up when they feel their modesty has been violated," said Roberts, who, as MPM's executive director, is not paid a salary. "Patient modesty is a very important issue that desperately needs to be addressed. Many people have avoided important medical treatment due to patient modesty concerns. Patients under anesthesia are most vulnerable because their wishes are often ignored because they are unable to speak up. We are very concerned about how many unnecessary urinary catheters are inserted in patients without their consent not only because of modesty concerns, but serious complications that could result.”
Although the organization is still in its beginning stages, Roberts has helped individuals across the country address concerns about patient modesty.
“One of my friends who had a bad birthing experience because her female gynecologist would not respect her wishes that no medical students be present [told me], 'You will have a bigger impact than you think. Maybe God has given you this special mission — [it] could even be a greater advantage to be a deaf woman communicating what no one else can,'" she said.
Roberts also writes articles that have been published on other websites, including a retired cardiologist's blog. These publications have attracted those dealing with issues of patient modesty to Robert's nonprofit organization, including a man concerned about his modesty during a colonoscopy exam. The man was able to find a clinic that was able to accommodate his wishes, however, and thanked Roberts for her help.
"There are times I feel like quitting because it is so hard to secure funding for a non-profit organization that deals with an issue that is rarely addressed," Roberts said. "But at the same time, it has been very encouraging to me about how many people I have been able to help."
As MPM grows, Roberts has several things she would like for the organization to accomplish.
"Some of our future goals are to hire some advocates, nurse consultants, provide educational resources to nursing and medical schools about how to be sensitive to patient modesty and to start an online directory of medical procedures and the maximum amount of modesty for each procedure and what body parts must be exposed,” she said.
Find out more about MPM during a benefit walkathon and silent auction, held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at Nancy Weldon Gym at Lake Junaluska. There is no entry fee for the walkathon, but it is requested that walkers try their best to raise at least $250. For those who raise $500 or more, there is a chance to win a prizes like hotel gift certificates.
Those who do not want to participate in the walkathon are welcome to come to the silent auction at noon, which will feature items like vacation packages, restaurant and hotel gift certificates and more. In case of rain, the silent auction will still be held at Nanci Weldon Gym.
For more information about the walkathon and silent auction, visit http://www.patientmodesty.org/walkathon.aspx. Walkathon commitment forms are available on MPM's website.
There will also be a conference “How to Be a Bold Christian in This Culture” in the Hickory area Saturday, Nov. 16 to benefit MPM. Rusty Martin, Jr., who played Dylan Mitchell, the teenage son of Adam and Victoria Mitchell in the film "Courageous" will be the keynote speaker. To learn more and purchase tickets, go to http://www.patientmodesty.org/boldchristian.aspx.
MPM's goal is to raise $150,000 by the end of this year. Those who wish to support MPM with a financial donation can donate at http://www.gofundme.com/patientmodesty. The organization is also in need of volunteers to help MPM in a variety of ways. Contact Roberts at email@example.com.