Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Medical Misogyny

There's this thread going on Tumblr that has me completely horrified. It's a series of stories from women about how doctors ignored their serious medical problems because they were teens or younger at the time and said doctors assumed they were exaggerating. They all suffered unnecessarily, and many of them ended up becoming permanently disabled because of this neglect.

Many of these stories also start out with parents refusing to take their children seriously when they say they're in horrible pain. Assuming women and girls exaggerate or make up pain is a scientifically documented phenomenon, but when doctors do it, horrible things happen. From the doctor who translated the horrible pain of what turned out to be a constantly dislocating knee as "a twinge" to the parents who wouldn't take their 14-year-old to the doctor until she cried uncontrollable for two days straight with a 104 degree fever to the girl who almost died from kidney disease because the doctor dismissed her as "just being a teenager."

Then I made my own post about how horrified I am over these stories and people replied with more stories about the same kind of thing, one from an autistic person who was ignored because the high pitched voice, which was actually a symptom, combined with the autism made people think they were just whiny.

This is on top of all the doctors who have refused to treat fat people until they lose weight or just assume all problems are due to their weight, no matter how healthy they actually are.

It makes me wonder if the reason doctors had such a hard time diagnosing my own (thankfully temporary) serious medical issue is because they weren't listening to me, since I was a teen at the time. This is what happens in a culture where teen girls are constantly mocked and assumed to be lying and exaggerating and whining about everything. There are so many dangerous stereotypes about teen girls that are so harmful - they all seem to come down to not listening to and disbelieving them about their own lived experiences. Not only is this completely dehumanizing, doctors are apparently fucking a buttload of teen girls up because of this arrogant bullshit.

Honestly, I know a lot of people personally who have stories about how doctors have completely failed them. I think we tend to hold doctors up in this country as these brilliant, dedicated healers. I'm sure all those medical shows don't help. But in my experience and the experience of a ton of other people, doctors fucking suck. Can we talk about how doctors fucking suck? I'm sure it doesn't help that you need so much privilege in this country to be able to become a doctor at all thanks to fucking college costs.

This needs to be fixed. It's bad enough that you have to pay to see almost any doctor unless you go to one of those horrible free clinics. But then the doctor doesn't even help you? Just dismisses you as being whiny? This is a problem, people.


Tea.EarlGrey.Hot. said...

Ugh, yes. Doctors are terrible. There's SOMETHING terribly wrong with me. I won't go on about it, but it really fucking crippling and I was going to the doctor for over a year. They kept dismissing all of my symptoms even the severe ones. They didnt do any tests except a blood test, and when nothing was found theassumed it was in my head, then when I pressed they randomly declared I must have depression and insisted I take dangerous meds. I took one but it made me lose 15 lbs in a week (and I only weighed 110 @5'7") an gave me mood swings so I stopped and my doctor for mad at me and said it only didnt work because I didnt believe!!!! Then prescribed more and I searched the side affects and they were horrible so I refused so they sent me to get a mental examination but no symptoms of depression found. Still the doctor kept saying I have it. I tried many doctors none would treat me properly so I just stopped going. Now I try to live with whatever this crippling illness is and it's hard. I don't think I can even get disability if I needed to. Also, I know that depression is serious and terrible, and I've known several people with it, but this whole affair has made me wonder if it is frequentlymisdiagnosed... I wonder how much of classism (insurance) and bribes from medicine companies this contributes to it.

My question is... How the fuck does ANYONE get treated in this country if doctors are so clueless and douchey???

Lindsey Weedston said...

Have you tried being a rich white thin able-bodied cishet dude? Because that seems to be the only way. Dick Cheney is still alive but you have to put up with this? Ugh.

So sorry doctors have failed you so hard. I hope you can get a diagnosis somehow.

Matthew Lane said...

"Medical Misogyny"

No, that would be medical malpractice.... That's not restricted to gender & it's not indicative of a hatred of women.... So just medical malpractice.

Lindsey Weedston said...

When you have doctors constantly dismissing women while they listen to men, then it's medical misogyny.

Going Rampant said...

I'd say there's an intersection with ageism, as I've had issues while being perceived as male. I also really make an effort to not react to pain to be in control of my body, and then doctors don't believe that I'm actually in as much pain as I say I am, and then I'll cross some threshold and start screaming, and they think I'm overreacting to be annoying. (I have autism.) I've considered adding to that thread, but I don't have any stories as severe as them.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Definitely, ageism is a factor.