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I'm new to this forum but thought that I could get some unbiased points of view on the situation I am currently going through.
I was recently terminated from my job (a chain massage "clinic") because I refused to work on a client who is currently undergoing chemo therapy. This client did have a very generic doctor's note in is file stating "may recieve massage therapy", I do not know if it was from his oncologist or his general practitioner. I AM NOT TRAINED IN ANY SORT OF ONCOLOGY MASSAGE, having said that, I declined to work on the client. At the end of my shift that day I was suspended because I refused to work on this client and subsequently fired.
I am not sure that oncology certification is a requirement the way prenatal massage certification is required to work on a client that is pregnant. I'm appalled, I really feel that I made the ethically correct decision not just for me but for the well being of the client.
Any advice, opinions, points of view are greatly appreciated!
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I agree with Laura. We also have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients (acting in their best interest).
Unless there risk involved (to the client or the therapist), I would have done the massage.
Massage is often used as palliative care (which may have been the goal in this case). A thorough client intake would have ruled out any contraindications and revealed an appropriate treatment plan for this particular client.
But it doesn’t sound like an intake was conducted. Is that true?
A good rule of thumb is to see your client as a person first; then his or her disease and disability as a secondary consideration.
Stephen, thanks for bring gloves into the equation.
Some things to consider…
Medication residue can be found on the client’s skin for up to 24 hours when certain chemotherapeutic agents are used (e.g., Thiotepa, Cyclophosphamide).
These medications are potentially harmful unless gloves are worn during this time to reduce exposure.
HOWEVER, since any chemotherapy may cause your client to feel ill after the treatment, it is best to postpone massage until the day AFTER your client receives chemotherapy.
This “day of rest” for your client also puts massage therapy after the 24 hour window.
A through intake would have lead Vanessa to these (and other) safe practice decisions.
If the client had a doctor's note saying it was okay to receive massage, I personally would have given the massage. It may have appeared to the business owner that you were claiming that you know better than the doctor since you refused to do it.