Ginger's Story: All Patients Deserve to Be Treated With Respect
Ginger Marshall won’t shy away from telling you about her late-in-life transition, her uncomfortable experiences in medical settings or the discrimination she’s faced as a trans woman.
As an advocate and educator, Ginger embraces every opportunity to share one message: All patients – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve to be treated with respect.
Ginger remembers when a nurse in an Emergency Department wouldn’t address her by name.
She remembers when a physician at another health system scoffed at her and her wife.
She remembers when a close friend’s HIV diagnosis was almost overlooked because a physician made assumptions.
“There’s a lot of trauma and a lot of history about how the LGBT community has been treated in health care settings,” Ginger says. “I’m able to advocate for myself very well, but not everybody is. My approach has always been to reach out to somebody who can solve the problem and do it in a very rational way.”
A longtime patient of MetroHealth’s Pride Network – the first of its kind in the region – and now an employee, Ginger understands how LGBTQI+ patient care is supposed to work.
Ginger, among her many duties as the network’s administrative coordinator, is tasked with educating the MetroHealth team, medical students and others about how members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex community deserve to be treated.
That includes proper pronoun usage, how to appropriately phrase sensitive questions, the unique medical needs of the LGBTQI+ community and other topics.
And she does it all in a way that is distinctly Ginger – with a heavy dose of humor and a lot of personality.
“You put a nickel in me, and I won’t stop talking,” Ginger says. “I’m not shy. I don’t get angry about what people don’t know. A lot of times it’s just ignorance, it’s overwork, it’s exhaustion, it’s a lack of understanding. My job is to educate and help them understand what these patients are going through. I know because I’ve been there.”
To learn more about our Pride Network: metrohealth.org/pride
The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.
The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.
As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.
Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.
The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.