Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick

Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick

In this shocking, hard-hitting expose in the tradition of Naomi Klein and Barbara Ehrenreich, the editorial director of Feministing.com, reveals how gender bias infects every level of medicine and healthcare today—leading to inadequate, inappropriate, and even dangerous treatment that threatens women’s lives and well-being.Maya Dusenbery brings together scientific and soci...

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Title:Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick
Author:Maya Dusenbery
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Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick Reviews

  • Melissa

    A deep dive into decades-long practices in science and medicine that disadvantage women from the word go. Bad science, prejudicial and paternalistic attitudes by physicians and other care providers, and a persistent belief that women’s self-reported symptoms are not to be trusted. Dusenbery gets into the actual published science behind all the bad science/medicine and how the tides are slowly beginning to turn.

    Book 2 of the three-Book trifecta coming out 3/6 about women’s health and chronic ill

    A deep dive into decades-long practices in science and medicine that disadvantage women from the word go. Bad science, prejudicial and paternalistic attitudes by physicians and other care providers, and a persistent belief that women’s self-reported symptoms are not to be trusted. Dusenbery gets into the actual published science behind all the bad science/medicine and how the tides are slowly beginning to turn.

    Book 2 of the three-Book trifecta coming out 3/6 about women’s health and chronic illness (other two titles are Invisible and Ask Me About My Uterus).

  • Shaina Robbins

    Would it be inappropriate for me to give a copy of this to every medical professional I meet? Or maybe just to a couple of terrible of doctors from my past?

  • Wendy

    "Women's symptoms are not taken seriously because medicine doesn't know as much about their bodies and health problems. And medicine doesn't know as much about their bodies and health problems because it doesn't take their symptoms seriously."

    If you are a woman, have a body and go to the doctor, read this book. You will recognise your experience in these pages. You will get enraged. And you will be joined by many other women.

    As a sufferer of CFS, I faced years of doctors telling me I was sufferi

    "Women's symptoms are not taken seriously because medicine doesn't know as much about their bodies and health problems. And medicine doesn't know as much about their bodies and health problems because it doesn't take their symptoms seriously."

    If you are a woman, have a body and go to the doctor, read this book. You will recognise your experience in these pages. You will get enraged. And you will be joined by many other women.

    As a sufferer of CFS, I faced years of doctors telling me I was suffering from stress and just needed to meditate, take it easy. The suspicion that it was "all in my head" never far away. My daughter with PCOS as a teenager was laughingly called a "hypochondriac " by our ex-doctor because she was missing her periods.

    This book meticulously details the gaps in medical treatment for women. Primarily the gaps are in two areas:

    Knowledge about women's bodies, issues, complexities and Trust in women's accounts of their symptoms. "Hysteria" and "psychosomatic" part of the regular lexicon.

    This book details a situation in women's health that is beyond alarming; one that leaves women suffering for years with no support or diagnosis. The rule of thumb is: "If we don't know what is causing your chronic pain, it must be all in your head, not a deficit in our knowledge."

    Well written. Infuriating. Empowering. Recommended.

  • Mickey

    I want to take this book to my next doctor's appointment, smack him upside the head with it, and then stand there and read the whole damn thing out loud to him! It was infuriating and maddening to read, but it helped me to feel better that I'm not the only woman who is fighting the medical system for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Zia Okocha

    This book is must read for all women, doctors who care for women, and anyone with girls and women in their lives (so, yes everyone). As a female physician of color, I know I have come to have antennas up for inherent systemic racism built into our medical education and treatment systems. Until this book, however, I did not notice how sexist the medical system is as well. As the author notes, so many medical conditions that cause knee-jerk negative reactions are experienced mostly by women. She a

    This book is must read for all women, doctors who care for women, and anyone with girls and women in their lives (so, yes everyone). As a female physician of color, I know I have come to have antennas up for inherent systemic racism built into our medical education and treatment systems. Until this book, however, I did not notice how sexist the medical system is as well. As the author notes, so many medical conditions that cause knee-jerk negative reactions are experienced mostly by women. She also takes us through the history of a number of medical conditions that until recently have not had biological or "organic" explanations and have largely been considered "psychogenic", completely made up, or part of the the normal crappy experience of being a woman (see endometriosis or dysmenorrhea).

    She also notes the lack of funding for many female-predominant conditions, and likely most shocking the fact that most of medical research is based on men, male animals and male cell lines. We are not taught about differences between males and females in medical school other than the reproductive health system and when we have our OB/Gyn and urology rotations. It wasn't until residency that I learned about how medications are metabolized differently by men and women. So, I shudder to think about how many conditions we fail to optimize by not evaluating outcomes in women.

    Because of this book, I know I will make more of a conscious effort to check myself when dealing with female patients, knowing that I live in a society and was educated in a system that instills bias against believing women or their symptoms. Moreover, I am interested in using this knowledge to help push for more research including women (especially pregnant women) and evaluating more closely studies that I read for outcomes separated by sex.

    So thankful for this book and I hope more folks read this and feel empowered to demand more from their physicians and the medical system.

  • Alex Linschoten

    Important and timely. Dusenbery has hit the nail on the head with this book. I highlighted so many passages. She reveals how -- at almost every turn -- women are rendered dismissed, ignored and invisible by the medical system.

  • Alyssa Foll

    This was an eye-opening read about how poorly women are treated in the medical system. Maya Dusenbery examines multiple factors for why medicine tends to be sexist and paternalistic in its care of women, but she also shares countless stories of women who advocated for themselves and for the healthcare they deserved.

    I can't say that this is a "pop" science read-- there was an impressive amount of data, acronyms, and medical jargon. However, it is well worth the read to explore how women in pain

    This was an eye-opening read about how poorly women are treated in the medical system. Maya Dusenbery examines multiple factors for why medicine tends to be sexist and paternalistic in its care of women, but she also shares countless stories of women who advocated for themselves and for the healthcare they deserved.

    I can't say that this is a "pop" science read-- there was an impressive amount of data, acronyms, and medical jargon. However, it is well worth the read to explore how women in pain are treated by our medical system in the US. My hope is that this book will serve as a clarion call for better healthcare and better treatment for all women.

  • ❤

    I hate to say it, but I found this book pretty repetitive in a lot of spots. Each section, regardless of what part of history or which medical issue was being discussed, felt like I was re-reading entire paragraphs at some point because so much was constantly being reiterated in the same way. Because of that, I also didn't find the writing to be entirely engaging as I expected such a topic to be for me. In fact, it was rather dry. In this case, that doesn't mean I didn't like the book - I though

    I hate to say it, but I found this book pretty repetitive in a lot of spots. Each section, regardless of what part of history or which medical issue was being discussed, felt like I was re-reading entire paragraphs at some point because so much was constantly being reiterated in the same way. Because of that, I also didn't find the writing to be entirely engaging as I expected such a topic to be for me. In fact, it was rather dry. In this case, that doesn't mean I didn't like the book - I thought it was informative and succeeded at tying history into present day medicine for the most part, I just thought it could do with a bit more editing in certain areas.

    That said, I've rounded my rating up to 3 from 2.5 stars simply because this topic is so, so important and regardless of writing style, the more effort that's put into bringing women's health and how often our symptoms are overlooked, downplayed or straight up misdiagnosed (and why historically this has been so prevalent) to the forefront, the better.

    Luckily, there are a couple more books on this very topic that have or will be coming out this year that can/will help Doing Harm in the fight to bring awareness and share the stories of some of the women who have struggled directly with sexist medicine.

  • Marianne K

    A repetitive look at gender-bias in the doctor/ patient relationship. Having experienced this firsthand, I certainly agreed with the premise. I almost bailed in the introduction as the author had so many liberal views that I do not subscribe to, "... nature is a lot more diverse than the two categories [gender] we try to impose on it", uh, no, sorry. Here's another gag-inducing gem, "I won't be discussing routine reproductive health care in this book-that is, contraception,

    , and care du

    A repetitive look at gender-bias in the doctor/ patient relationship. Having experienced this firsthand, I certainly agreed with the premise. I almost bailed in the introduction as the author had so many liberal views that I do not subscribe to, "... nature is a lot more diverse than the two categories [gender] we try to impose on it", uh, no, sorry. Here's another gag-inducing gem, "I won't be discussing routine reproductive health care in this book-that is, contraception,

    , and care during pregnancy and childbirth" I italicized the procedure she considers 'routine'.

    Getting past the author's biases, I found the book really repetitive and rote: Present anecdote, give statistics on disease/condition, tell how women are not believed even though they are affected more than men, wrap up with anecdotal person finding own cure via Internet, repeat, repeat, repeat.

    I liked the brief forays into medical history, such as the hysteria discussion. But did every condition need a monetary tally of how much research is allotted to it, and it seems every disease was compared to the money given to MS research for some odd reason.

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