Have You Experienced A Lack Of Understanding, Bias, or Discrimination From Doctors?

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Member Carenity • Community manager
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An excerpt from a recent article, When Doctors Downplay Women’s Health Concerns, in the New York Times stated that “'[i]t’s a huge issue in medicine,' ... Health care providers may have implicit biases that affect the way women are heard, understood and treated...Medical schools and professional guidelines are starting to address this problem, but there’s still much to be done.”

There has been much recent research on disparities between men and women and the treatment they receive in medical settings, and it is a reason to pause. Recent research shows that medical professionals prescribe less pain medication to women after surgery, despite women reporting more frequent and severe pain levels and that women waited 16 minutes longer than men to receive pain medication at the emergency room. Further, medical professionals are more likely to tell women than men that their pain is psychosomatic or influenced by emotional distress. "In a survey of more than 2,400 women with chronic pain, 83 percent said they felt they had experienced gender discrimination from their health care providers."

Additionally, it is common to hear stories from medical practitioners of how their female patients have seen multiple physicians or medical professionals before being diagnosed with serious neurological/medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease because the medical professionals prior to were quick to discount and dismiss the women's concerns for being stress related.

Have you ever experienced any discrimination, lack of understanding, or a downplaying of your concerns when going to the doctor or seeking medical care?

Beginning of the discussion - 9/11/18

Have You Experienced A Lack Of Understanding, Bias, or Discrimination From Doctors?
Member Carenity
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I have experienced a lack of understanding, I feel, by a psychologist. I had a rough childhood. Moved to United States at a very young age, in my late teens I entered into a relationship with someone who I though I would marry, but he later left me and that compounded with other things in life made me become very depressed. I sought out a psychiatrist and he brushed off any of the issues I had as me being over sensitive and emotional. I sought out a different psychologist/counselor who was a lady and she helped me a lot. I discovered a lot about my self from her understanding and I am doing so much better now and me and the man ended up marrying each other... truns out we were both going through stuff at that time, but we were too afraid to open up to each other.

Have You Experienced A Lack Of Understanding, Bias, or Discrimination From Doctors?
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Member Carenity
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This may be a tangential subject but I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and went to an oncologist who was connected with the health system that did the diagnosis.  After he introduced himself his first word out of his mouth was Chemo.  I screamed and cried because I was afraid of doing chemo in the first place and was distraught going in to the appointment.   I was there to hear test results which turned out to be good; this idiot could have started with that discussion but instead decided to hit me with the word "chemo".  Then he proceeded to be condescending to me by saying "Oh, you smart lady, aren't you smart lady?" so I would agree to the chemo.  He was Chinese; he spoke broken English with a heavy accent.  I have to assume that his culture has a lot to do with not understanding about female sensitivities to certain subjects.  

After that nightmare, I have gone to two other oncologists who were both very receptive to my feelings.  The only reason why the third Oncologist was involved was due to 1) the distance I had to travel and 2) the fact that the third one is connected to a cancer center that has a breast cancer unit in it and is closer.   This cancer center has a very integrated system of wellness activities that include exercise, nutrition, Look Good Feel Good sessions regarding make-up, etc. as well as Art Therapy, etc. 

Doctors first of all should go through Accent Reduction therapy as part of their training as well as sensitivity training to deal with women and highly sensitive individuals.

I find the medical community to go from one extreme to the other...either the doctors are excellent listeners or they act like they could care less that you are sitting before them totally traumatized.  Find a doctor you can talk to and whom you feel is on your side as far as connecting to your feelings.

Have You Experienced A Lack Of Understanding, Bias, or Discrimination From Doctors?
Member Carenity
Posted on

@Jolie60 I am sorry you had to go through that with the first doctor. Definitely not a way to speak to any woman, especially one dealing with the diagnosis of cancer.

I am glad you found better and more understanding doctors. I have seen my share of doctors and agree with you.

Have You Experienced A Lack Of Understanding, Bias, or Discrimination From Doctors?
Member Carenity • Community manager
Posted on

@Hidden username Thank you for sharing and I am too, sorry you had to deal with this. Unfortunately, some times it seems the medical practitioners can be insensitive to those suffering, especially women. Culture too has a large part to play with it, and that also is within our own American culture from state to state, generation to generation. 

Cultural sensitivity training is vital. I am glad your other doctors have been receptive to your feelings, as they should... after all it is your health.

Have You Experienced A Lack Of Understanding, Bias, or Discrimination From Doctors?
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Member Carenity
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I  was diagnosed with lupus 4years ago.   My life has changed drasticaly ,in was i could have never imagined? Unfortunately, its been in negative ways.  I never realized what an illness can do to you, your mind set pretty much ,every aspect of  your life.  No one understands what happens to person , it's a lonely existence at times.  To everyone dealing with similar situation, I send soft hugs please know you are not alone! 

Have You Experienced A Lack Of Understanding, Bias, or Discrimination From Doctors?
Member Carenity • Community manager
Posted on

 @Hidden username‍ thank you for sharing and sorry to hear of your struggling. Have any of these negative ways been through bias, discrimination or lack of understanding from doctors also?