If you live in New York, you may have experienced medical gaslighting at some point. This is a scenario where you report a symptom or concern, but a doctor or nurse plays it down or tells you that it is not significant.
Problems with medical gaslighting
Medical gaslighting might sound minor, but it can have serious implications. Much of the time, doctors do not run every test possible on their patients. That would be expensive and time-consuming, so instead, they rely on their knowledge and experience to decide if they need to proceed to more elevated diagnostic tools after listening to the patient. If a doctor, nurse, or other provider gaslights a patient’s report, it can lead to ignoring important signs of a real condition. Just about every disease and medical problem is easier to treat when it is caught early. Losing the chance to treat something early can turn it from minor to deadly.
Medical doctors are required to do their best to help their patients. If they engage in gaslighting and fail to recognize the signs of a serious problem, then that can be an example of medical malpractice. After all, when it comes to medicine a lack of action can be just as dangerous as the wrong action. Women and people of color are more likely to experience this type of treatment. The most famous recent case involves Serena Williams, who almost died due to a childbirth complication when the staff ignored her reports of pain.
Medical gaslighting is a problem that the medical community is finally starting to recognize. It poses a major threat to the well-being of patients.