Doctor who saved man's life in bikini opens up about Instagram fame, slams sexism in medicine

The physician participated in the empowering #MedBikini photo challenge

A doctor is speaking out on her overnight social media fame and denouncing sexism in medicine after going viral on Instagram for sharing a photo of herself saving a man’s life while wearing a bikini.

The physician participated in the empowering #MedBikini photo challenge, joining hundreds of health care professionals who have shared swimsuit shots online in recent days to protest a controversial article that suggested young vascular surgeons who post such photos could be perceived as “potentially unprofessional.”

Dr. Candice Myhre has drawn a following of 35,500 on Instagram after a sharing a shot of herself saving a man’s life after he was hit by a boat and suffered serious injuries, all while wearing a pink bikini.

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“Dr Bikini will save your life in the middle of the Ocean when you get hit by a boat,” the emergency medicine physician from Kauai, Hawaii, wrote on Sunday, explaining the critical steps she took to save his life.

Myhre added that she was proud to post in solidarity with female vascular surgeons.

“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,” she wrote. “We can wear WHATEVER we want on our free time, and still save your life.”

“We have to drown out the sexism in medicine and keep it moving. It’s 2020 people. Sexism is cancelled,” Myhre concluded, in a post that has since gone wildly viral with over 262,000 likes.

On Tuesday, the doctor thanked her new fans for their kindness and support.

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“I chose to speak up for a cause that I believe in after having experienced so much sexism in medicine; starting in medical school and throughout my 20 years working in Emergency Medicine,” Myhre said in a follow-up message, sharing a black-and-white photo of herself in another bikini.

“Just two days ago I had 300 followers,” she revealed. “You never know what sort of positive impact you can make by speaking up and expressing your thoughts!”

“Just two days ago I had 300 followers,” she revealed. “You never know what sort of positive impact you can make by speaking up and expressing your thoughts!” (Dr. Candice Myhre)

“Just two days ago I had 300 followers,” she revealed. “You never know what sort of positive impact you can make by speaking up and expressing your thoughts!”

“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.”

Moving forward, the self-described “Dr. Bikini” said she plans to use her new Instagram fame to share stories from the emergency room and spread positive vibes.

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In a now-retracted piece from its August issue, the Journal of Vascular Surgery published a study titled “Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons,” which sought to “evaluate the extent of unprofessional social media among recent vascular surgery fellows and residents.” The study argued that such “publicly available social media content” may affect future patients’ choice of physician or medical facility.

Specifically, this “potentially unprofessional” content included holding or consuming alcohol and wearing “inappropriate attire” such as bikinis and swimwear, as well as using profanity and discussing controversial political, religious or social topics online.

Backlash to the study was fierce, as social media users slammed the report as “sexist” and offensive. In response, the #MedBikini hashtag surfaced online and has been making a splash ever since, as doctors and other health care professionals share favorite photos of themselves in swimwear.

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On Friday, the Journal of Vascular Surgery released an apology and retracted the paper.