Steps to protect yourself from medical gaslighting

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

Healthcare professionals in North Carolina normally work under demanding circumstances. They have to make decisions rapidly. Unfortunately, this pressure combined with people’s biases results in the dismissal of patients’ concerns and symptoms. Gaslighting is the popular term for quickly rejecting your thoughts or observations or even telling you that you are irrational or mentally troubled. In a medical setting, gaslighting slows down or prevents accurate diagnoses and can cause patients significant harm. Due to the extent of the problem, you should prepare yourself to push back against the dismissal of symptoms with the following recommendations.

Document your symptoms

Before attending your appointment, write down what you have been experiencing. Be as detailed as possible by listing dates and times of symptoms and if they are getting worse.

If a doctor does tell you not to worry about something, ask the doctor to note the symptoms and decision in your medical record. Your request could nudge the doctor to reconsider. If you end up pursuing a medical malpractice claim, then this note in your records could support your case.

Bring a trusted family member or friend

You have the right to bring someone with you to a medical appointment. Your friend or relative could advocate for you. It is harder for a doctor to ignore two people who are saying the same thing.

Why does medical gaslighting happen?

Studies of medical decisions and outcomes in relation to gender and race have revealed bias against some members of society. Healthcare workers tend to believe that females have psychological problems instead of physical problems.

The medical community also appears to have a persistent belief that African Americans can tolerate more pain. For this reason, they have a lower likelihood of receiving pain medication compared to white patients.