(DALLAS) — A professional board for obstetricians and gynecologists reversed a major term requiring that doctors only see female patients. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who made the announcement Thursday, clarified guidelines and restrictions regarding the treatment of male patients.
Critics voiced concerns after the board previously said members couldn’t treat men except in select circumstances such as infant circumcision, treating transgender people or assisting couples with infertility issues. Gynecologists said the restrictions prevented them from furthering medical research or helping male patients with chronic pelvic pain.
“This change recognizes that in a few rare instances board certified Diplomates were being called upon to treat men for certain conditions and to participate in research,” Dr. Larry Gilstrap, ABOG’s executive director, said in a statement. “This issue became a distraction from our mission to ensure that women receive high quality and safe health care from certified obstetricians and gynecologists.”
Prior requirements mandated that certified members of the board devote at least 75 percent of their practice to obstetrics and gynecology and treat only women. The new guidelines say committing a majority of their practice will meet requirements.
While gynecologists can now treat men, the board says that the new definition and policies “are not an endorsement for board-certified Diplomates to practice in areas outside of their specialty,” and they can best serve patients by focusing on their specialized training.
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Jackie Wattles, CNN