Sexism can occur even in emergency room

By: Olivia Martin

According to an article by Joe Fassler in The Atlantic called “How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously,” women are often only treated aggressively until after they prove they are as sick as male patients.

Why do doctors believe a woman’s pain is less than a man’s pain? It goes back to long-held stereotypes of women: that they tend to overexaggerate, that they are more emotional, that they are not in as much pain as we say and that they may be behaving in attention-seeking ways. However, a woman in pain should be attended to with the same amount of urgency as her male counterpart receives.

To underestimate someone in such a fragile state just because they are a woman is incredibly ridiculous and sexist to the core. The Atlantic article states that “Nationwide, men wait an average of 49 minutes before receiving an analgesic for acute abdominal pain. Women wait an average of 65 minutes for the same thing.”

Women suffering from not being taken seriously is a too-common misfortune of collective stigmas women face every day. When this occurs in hospitals, women can literally die. The medical community has even given a name for this phenomenon, called the “Yentl Syndrome,” which refers to the way heart attacks are dealt with in different ways based on a patient’s gender.

This is a huge issue because most of the medical research conducted has focused only on heart attacks in men. Many women have died from misdiagnoses because their symptoms were slightly different from the symptoms doctors learn to be attuned to.

When will the medical community start to see women as equals to men, interpret their pain on the same level, and give them the care they deserve? Too many women have died already at their expense.

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