Physician who saved man's life wearing a bikini goes viral: 'Female doctors can wear whatever they want'

Kerry Justich
·4 mins read
Self-proclaimed "Dr. Bikini" is using her social media to condemn sexism in medicine. (Photo: Instagram/drcandysurfvival)
Self-proclaimed "Dr. Bikini" is using her social media to condemn sexism in medicine. (Photo: Instagram/drcandysurfvival)

Women working in medicine are taking to social media to post photos of themselves in swimwear with the hashtag #medbikini to protest a December 2019 study titled, “Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons,” which claims posing in a bikini is inappropriate for a medical professional. But it is one such post, by Dr. Candice Myhre, that is seemingly gaining the most traction for capturing the way that the Hawaii-based doctor saved a man’s life while in her bikini.

The study, conducted from 2016 to 2018 and published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery in late 2019, sought to “evaluate the extent of unprofessional social media content among recent vascular surgery fellows and residents.” There it was deemed that bikinis and swimwear are an example of the “inappropriate attire” and “potentially unprofessional content” that appears on the public social media profiles of young people in the industry.

As of Friday, countless medical professionals have set out to prove the study wrong with side-by-side photos of themselves in their bathing suits and their white coats. And in her powerful Instagram post on Saturday, Myhre demonstrated that in some circumstances, the two can even be interchangeable.

“Dr Bikini 👙will save your life in the middle of the Ocean when you get hit by a boat,” she wrote. “I will take you out of the ocean on a surfboard turned into a backboard, tie off your exsanguinating wound with my rash guard, take you to my under equipped urgent care, stabilize you in 1 hour with an IV, oxygen, morphine, fluids, Foley, and put your open femur fracture in Bucks traction, fly you by helicopter to a local hospital, order and interpret all the labs, xrays, CT scans, suture/staple all your wounds, splint your clavicle/ humerus and scapula fractures, sedate you, put a chest tube in your 5 rib fractured hemopneumothorax and fly you by jet to a specialty hospital in another country....all in my you guessed it 👙.”

The Emergency Medicine Physician, practicing in Kalaheo, Hawaii, explained that she was posting in solidarity with female vascular surgeons by proclaiming that “Female doctors can wear whatever they want.” She then went on to explain how the notion that they shouldn’t is inherently sexist.

Related video: Doctors posing in bikinis are being shamed

“Female doctors, nurses, NPs/PAs, all healthcare professionals - we can wear a bikini, a dress, or we can wear scrubs. This does not change how good we are at being a healthcare provider. We can wear WHATEVER we want on our free time, and still save your life,” she wrote. “Sexism in medicine is alive and well. But we won’t let that stop us.”

With a call-to-action to all women in medicine to post in a bikini, dress or Halloween costume to “drown out the sexism,” Myhre garnered attention from over 242,000 people who liked her post on Instagram — including those in the profession that said she had inspired them to post.

Myhre didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment. But in the days since that viral post, she has gone on to share more about her experiences as a physician working mostly on surf injuries.

“Bikinis improve patient satisfaction scores and lower the numbers on the pain scale,” she joked. “I give excellent care regardless of what I am wearing on social media.”

The self-proclaimed “Dr. Bikini” posted on Tuesday morning to share more about why she’s decided to open up about her work and share her experiences, while thanking her now 30,000 followers for taking interest.

”I chose to speak up for a cause that I believe in after having experienced so much sexism in medicine; starting in medical school & throughout my 20 years working in Emergency Medicine,” she wrote. “But, this is not about me. This is about the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of sexes. This is about showing support for marginalized voices and fighting for equality. We are all speaking up for the unequal treatment of women in medicine.”

As of Tuesday evening, the #medbikini hashtag has garnered more than 13,500 posts on Instagram alone, all with sentiments similar to the ones shared by Myhre.

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