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Doctors Find Women's Pain Less Believable Than Men's, Causing Disparity in Treatment

Though it is 2017, there is still evidence that old and debunked stereotypes have a pervasive impact on many facets of our lives. Sexism is still a mainstream problem, and women are still dealing with the brunt of the old boys club mentality. Though it may be frustrating and degrading for these stereotypes to control aspects of women’s lives, it becomes an infinitely more serious problem when sexism can be the difference between life and death. Doctors have been found to underestimate the pain of women, attributing the pain to emotionality and hysteria. As a result, women are ultimately undertreated and underdiagnosed as compared to men.

The Study Reveals Significant Bias in Treatment of Pain Between the Sexes

One major study, named “The Girl Who Cried Pain,” performed by law professors Diane Hoffmann and Anita Tarzian at the University of Maryland, found that there was a significant bias against women which led to disparities in pain treatment and management. The study was supported by numerous examples, such as the fact that in a study of patients suffering from metastatic cancer, women were five times more likely to be undertreated than men suffering from the same symptoms. In another study of AIDS patients, women received inadequate treatment and pain management therapy in comparison with their male counterparts.

Disparities Can Lead to Significant Health Issues for Women

The disparities in treatment between the sexes can lead to significant problems. When a woman’s pain is taken less seriously, it is possible that she not only has to deal with the pain for a longer time before she is finally appropriately diagnosed, but she could receive treatment that does not fit with her symptoms because there is a fear that she is overdramatizing the pain. This, coupled with the rising risk of prescription opioid addiction, has led to undertreatment for pain in women when compared with men. Additionally, female pain is more likely to be characterized as being a mental and or emotional issue, even when clinical reports show that the pain is in fact real.

Men Receive More Time and are Treated more Quickly Than Women

Finally, not only is it harmful thatwomen are suffering for longer periods of time than men due to the mischaracterization of their pain, but women are also allocated less time than men when being seen by hospital staff and endure longer wait times. This fact has been supported by a study showing that when men and women have complained about the same abdominal pain with the same symptoms, on average, men waited only 49 minutes to be treated while women waited 65 minutes before seeing someone.

Attractiveness May Also Play a Role in Bias in Health Treatment

In one final study that may illustrate the disparities in treatment based on the sexes, the study found that the more the hospital staff found the person suffering as attractive, the less treatment the patient received. This is because if the person is attractive, the attractive qualities emit the preconceived notion that person is more healthy than a person who is unattractive. When a person is perceived to be healthier, he or she is less likely to receive adequate treatment than a person who is less attractive, and appears to be less healthy, and therefore, worthy of more treatment.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you believe that your pain was mischaracterized due to your gender and as a result, you were misdiagnosed and undertreated by medical professionals, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.

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