Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Sexual Discrimination in Medicine

Posted by Charles Gilman | Apr 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

Discrimination is present in nearly all branches of society; however, it can be particularly insidious in some areas. Of particular importance and interest is the unfortunate and disastrous forms of discrimination that can take place in the doctor's office. When a patient enters a medical environment, they expect to gain insight into what ails them, regardless of their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. In spite of this expectation, situations have been reported in which doctors either do not adhere to the same standard of care, or even directly cause harm to patients due to their own biases and bigotry.

Sexual Discrimination In Medicine

Elite Daily has done an extensive report that focuses in particular on gender biases held by doctors that has resulted in a number of troubling issues. The results from a series of interviews and surveys were absolutely chilling. Several patients, most often women, experienced horrific tales of doctors, particularly those practicing gynecology, abusing their positions as medical professionals.

The details of these experiences are graphic, and are likely to make any person uncomfortable. Also disturbing, was the data about treatment received. A large number of women reported experiencing injuries or pain which were disregarded, ignored, or otherwise mistreated by both male and female doctors. An equal number of men were surveyed and just one reported that he felt that he had experienced any type discrimination. Most men said they've never even had to think about that question before.

Meanwhile, the women reported some alarming occurrences. One woman reported that she had fallen on her head and broken her arm, and was even slurring her words at the ER. A male nurse seeing her at first did not write any symptoms down on her chart; and when the doctor finally saw her, he simply told her to take Advil and return to work. It was only at her insistence for an X-Ray scan that she was able to get treatment for her broken bone.

Another woman disclosed suffering severe pain due to an IUD. In her case, the doctor was dismissive and would not remove the device until the patient demanded. Shortly thereafter, her pain stopped. In a particularly egregious case, one woman ended up suffering kidney damage when her doctor outright refused to provide a referral to a kidney specialist.

All of these experiences hark back to the history of sexism in medical treatments for women. A common diagnosis for women that persisted until the 20th century was "female hysteria," which included a ridiculously broad number of symptoms for a "condition" that had no actual medical validity, and was inherently sexist in its nature. Today, this old-world idea manifests itself in doctors treating women's symptoms as trivial or "made up." This kind of discrimination can lead to harmful, or even deadly, forms of malpractice.

About the Author

Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.

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