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Why do so many women have trouble getting effective and compassionate medical treatment? Diagnosis Female examines this widespread problem, with a focus on misdiagnosis and gender bias. The book zeroes in on specialties where women are more likely to encounter particularly troubling roadblocks: cardiology, neurology, chronic diseases and obstetrics/gynecology. All too often, when doctors can’t figure out what is going on, women receive a diagnosis from the “all in her head” column — this pattern is even worse for women of color, who may face significant challenges in medical settings.
Throughout the work, Emily Dwass profiles women whose stories illustrate how medical practitioners often dismiss their claims or disregard their symptoms. Because women were excluded from important medical research for centuries, doctors don’t always recognize that male symptoms and female symptoms can vary from issue to issue. Even today, most diagnostic tests and treatment plans are based on studies done on men. Throughout the book, women state that their voices do not matter, or worse, their concerns are greeted with skepticism or simply ignored when they seek help. The results can be devastating and long-lasting.
Examining the bias inherent in the system, Dwass offers measures women can take to protect their health and receive better care. She offers advice, too, for the medical community in addressing the problem, so that outcomes can improve all around. If you’re a woman, and you seek medical care, this book is a must-read. Your health depends upon it.