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
Faces of MetroHealth is an ongoing series of profiles of individuals from all levels of the organization who embody our mission and values. To read the others, click here.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.