People should pay attention to their bodies and alert medical providers when they feel something is wrong. However, many Ohio residents who do take action and seek medical assistance when they feel it is necessary frequently find one of two things happen: Their concerns are either dismissed or they receive the wrong diagnosis. Women, in particular, most often receive misdiagnoses.
Why is it that women’s health concerns are not taken as seriously as men’s? How often does this happen? What can women do if they feel ignored or think they have received the wrong diagnosis?
Why it happens
Some people believe that medical providers do not take women seriously because they are emotional, stressed out and anxious. While women may be all these things at times — it can happen to anyone, regardless of gender — all of these things can present very real physical symptoms that can mask larger problems. However, patients often receive misdiagnoses because doctors tend to seek the easiest answer to what may be causing symptoms, not necessarily the right one.
How bad is it, really?
According to researchers, when experiencing a heart attack, women are more likely to receive the wrong diagnosis than men — up to 50% more likely. An estimated 75% of people with autoimmune disorders are women, but it takes them, on average, five years to receive the correct diagnosis. A study out of another country found women are 33% more likely to have symptoms of a stroke diagnosed as something else.
The list of incidents of women receiving misdiagnoses can go on, but the point is that serious medical events are being ignored, which if left untreated, can lead to further health problems or even death.
What to do when ignored
As difficult as it is, patients have to advocate for themselves by doing the following:
- Request second opinions
- Do their own research
- Request better treatment
You know your body better than anyone else, and if something feels off to you, it is okay to push for answers.
What to do when misdiagnosed
If a physician misdiagnosed your medical condition and you experienced losses because of it, or you’ve lost a loved one due to a physician’s failure to diagnose, you may seek compensation through legal means for any damages sustained. Under certain circumstances, a misdiagnosis may be the result of medical negligence. If it is possible to establish that is the case, the physician and any others deemed responsible for your care may be held accountable.