Surgeon sues hospital over ‘sexism’ that lists male colleagues by title but omits hers

Surgeon criticizes hospital for ‘everyday sexism’ after staff member whiteboards her male colleagues by their professional titles but omits hers

  • dr. Virginia Bowbrick, a vascular surgeon at the Medway NHS Foundation Trust hospital in Kent, shared a photo of a whiteboard of a clinic where she works on Twitter
  • The whiteboard, showing who was working at the clinic that day, used titles for the male doctors, but simply addressed Dr Bowbrick by her last name
  • dr. Bowbrick tweeted: ‘We all have titles or none of us’ – with many other female health professionals saying they had similar experiences
  • In August, a similar whiteboard listed the surgeon’s name as ‘Mr Bowbrick’










A consultant vascular surgeon has criticized a hospital where she works after being addressed only by her last name on a whiteboard while her male colleagues were given their full professional titles.

dr. Virginia Bowbrick tweeted her frustration after a staff member wrote the names of her male colleagues who worked at the clinic as “Mr” or “Professor” on a department whiteboard, but wrote her name simply as “Bowbrick.”

Tweeting to her followers, Dr Bowbrick wrote: ‘We all have titles or none of us, but as the only woman in the clinic today I apparently don’t deserve any title, although my male colleagues do.’

She added the hashtags #untitling and #ilooklikeasurgeon and posted a photo of the whiteboard, believed to have been taken at the Medway NHS Foundation Trust in Gillingham, Kent.

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dr. Virginia Bowbrick, pictured, a vascular surgeon at Medway NHS Foundation Trust hospital in Kent, shared a whiteboard photo of a clinic where she works on Twitter

The whiteboard, showing who was working at the clinic that day, used titles for the male doctors, but simply addressed Dr Bowbrick by her last name

The whiteboard, showing who was working at the clinic that day, used titles for the male doctors, but simply addressed Dr Bowbrick by her last name

After reading the tweet, dozens of people, including fellow female surgeons, responded to the surgeon’s post saying they had experienced something similar and calling the incident “so disrespectful.”

dr. Bowbrick, who is also head of the School of Surgeons, which trains student surgeons, addressed today’s responses, writing: “It seems this is a genuine issue for many, including myself and just one of the run-of-the-mill sexisms that we usually face as a result of unconscious bias.’

dr. George Findlay, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust told MailOnline: ‘Ginny is a highly respected and valued member of our team, and this is not in line with our values.

“We have discussed Ginny’s concerns with her and we will make sure our employees are reminded of the importance of inclusiveness.”

dr.  Bowbrick tweeted: 'We all have titles or none of us' - with many other female health professionals saying they had similar experiences

dr. Bowbrick tweeted: ‘We all have titles or none of us’ – with many other female health professionals saying they had similar experiences

The healthcare professional has previously revealed that she has also been listed as ‘Mr Bowbrick’ in the past, after a colleague assumed a cardiac surgeon would be a man.

Of the comments that followed after the photo was posted, many said “everyday sexism” was a common experience in hospitals.

@surgicalsheel added: ‘This happened to me too. So disrespectful. It’s not a problem with an individual – it’s systemic. Report it to the clinic nurse in charge – additional staff training is needed. Also let your manager know. This is not acceptable. They are titles for all or nothing.’

@DeakinSue1 wrote: ‘It’s these multiple little things that add up in my experience. Although sometimes people worry whether we are Ms or Ms as female surgeons. Easier if we doctors of any kind Dr. goods.’

Not the first time: In August, a similar whiteboard listed the surgeon's name as 'Mr Bowbrick'

Not the first time: In August, a similar whiteboard listed the surgeon’s name as ‘Mr Bowbrick’

@clivebagley added: ‘I hate titles and I especially hate gender-based titles. Completely irrelevant in this day and age.’

The School of Surgery, headed by Dr Bowbrick, responded by suggesting that pronouns were not helpful, saying: ‘We should all switch to first name/last name/role in context.

‘So no Ms/Mrs/Mrs/Mx or even a doctor (medical degrees are master’s degrees). I also don’t know why anyone would have Professor in a clinical setting as it is irrelevant and causes as much confusion as all of the above.’

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