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July 2017

Emergency General Surgery Needs for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Patients: Are We Prepared?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3The Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 4Center for Surgery and Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 5Deputy Editor, JAMA Surgery
JAMA Surg. 2017;152(7):617-618. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0541

While the presence of surgical disparities among racial and ethnic minority patients has been established, there is a paucity of evidence exploring the quality of surgical care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients.1 In 2011, the National Academy of Medicine emphasized the need to address the health of LGBT patients.2 There is a growing body of literature on health care disparities among sexual and gender minorities in the ambulatory care setting; for example, studies have demonstrated decreased rates of cervical cancer screenings for nonheterosexual women.3 However, there have been few attempts to understand the issues LGBT patients may face while receiving surgical care and how these issues may vary based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Initial research has also shown that LGBT patients delay or avoid seeking care owing to the fear of discrimination.4 This is especially true when seeking care for emergent conditions, where patients do not have established relationships with clinicians and may be even more vulnerable to disparities.5

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