You may have heard of people “gaslighting” in a personal relationship. Gaslighting happens when one person tells lies in order to make another person question what is real or question their own judgment on a situation. Gaslighting can even lead a person to feel like they are going crazy. Yet gaslighting does not just occur between people in their personal relationships. It can happen between a patient and their doctor as well.
What is medical gaslighting?
Medical gaslighting occurs when a doctor dismisses a patient’s systems and fails to order appropriate tests or treatment. Ultimately, medical gaslighting can lead to a misdiagnosis. Black people, obese people and women are more likely to be the victims of medical gaslighting. Medical gaslighting can cause people to lose trust in their physicians, especially if they have suffered a long time with pain, immobility and no answer to their medical problems.
Medical gaslighting affects marginalized populations
Members of marginalized populations are the victims of medical gaslighting more often than others. Take heart disease, for example. Heart disease presents different symptoms in men than in women. A woman who has heart disease symptoms may have her complaints ignored because her symptoms do not match those of men with heart disease. A New York Times report also stated that it took longer for women to be diagnosed with cancer than men.
Research shows that African Americans seeking help for pain are undertreated for it compared to white people and physicians are more apt to label Black patients as being uncooperative.
In addition, one study of approximately 4,700 medical students found that 74% of study participants had negative perceptions of obese people, making it possible that obese people do not receive adequate medical treatment as physicians implicitly or explicitly cannot see past their weight as a possible source of these patients’ medical issues.
Everyone deserves appropriate medical care
Having your medical concerns dismissed can be upsetting, especially as your health continues to decline. If you are the victim of misdiagnosis due to medical gaslighting, you may find yourself in a precarious situation both health-wise and financially. Some people in such situations choose to learn more about pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit so they can decide if it is possible to be compensated for the harms they suffered.