When New Jersey residents see doctors for a health care concern, they expect to be treated with respect and get much-needed answers. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen; some doctors or other medical professionals might dismiss the patient’s concerns. This is medical gaslighting, and you should know what to do if you become a victim of it.
Understanding Medical Gaslighting
Medical gaslighting is a form of abuse and manipulation that occurs when a doctor or other medical professional ignores a patient’s concerns or downplays them. For example, you’ve noticed unusual neurological symptoms that you’ve never experienced and seek a doctor’s help. Instead of performing diagnostic tests, the doctor dismisses your symptoms and says you’re a hypochondriac. However, later, you get a second opinion and are diagnosed with the early stages of multiple sclerosis.
Why Medical Gaslighting Happens
Although medical gaslighting can happen to anyone, it’s more likely to affect women and people of color. Many women see doctors complaining about gynecological issues but are not taken seriously. Often, this occurs when they see a male doctor who has a superior attitude. Women are also more likely to develop autoimmune disorders, which are largely misunderstood by the medical community.
People of color are also more likely to experience medical gaslighting. Many instances are due to racism and medical professionals treating people with bias just because of their skin color. When patients are disregarded, it could have serious health consequences.
Medical gaslighting is a form of medical malpractice due to the harm it causes victims. Doctors are required to listen to their patients’ concerns and perform the appropriate tests needed to provide them with a diagnosis. If they fail to uphold their Hippocratic oath and the patient suffers harm, they might be liable for those damages.