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Female Patients, Female Nurses

A new directive issued by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health dictates that females can only be examined by male doctors with a female nurse present.

The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia just circulated a directive to all hospitals and health centers saying that male doctors can only examine female patients if a female nurse is also present in the room.

The way Saudi's female patient/male doctor code works is basically that male doctors and consultants are only permitted in the examination room with the consent of the patient or in emergency cases. However this new directive preventing male doctors from examining women unless a female nurse is there, was issued as a result of a series of complaints the Ministry received from female patients and their companions, who apparently found the process of being examined by a male doctor thoroughly embarrassing. So, in come the new procedures. In addition to a female nurse being present, "male staff members are also not allowed to enter the rooms of female patients with a clear reason and permission from the patient," says a spokesman for the Eastern Province Health Directorate.

No word yet on whether the Ministry of Health's directive was issued due to pressure recommendations from Saudi's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (which sounds like a commission fit to exist in a Harry Potter book). We're also not sure how the presence of a female nurse in the room somehow makes examination by a male doctor less embarrassing; he is, after all, still doing the exact same thing, but we're not sure about a lot of things when it comes to Saudi…