What is medical gaslighting, and how can you deal with it?

October 25, 2022 | Crandall & Pera Law
What is medical gaslighting, and how can you deal with it?

Ohio patients expect answers from their doctors, but sometimes, they might get an unexpected response. Medical gaslighting can occur instead. If it happens to you, it’s crucial to know what to do next.

Medical gaslighting explained

Medical gaslighting affects mostly women and people of color. It occurs when a doctor doesn’t take a patient seriously or downplays their symptoms. This differs from a medical misdiagnosis when a doctor mistakenly believes a patient has one condition because of similar symptoms. Gaslighting in the medical community is unacceptable and can harm patients physically and psychologically.

How to deal with medical gaslighting

If you believe you’ve fallen victim to medical gaslighting, you should fight back and be your own advocate. Doctors are medical professionals, but no one knows your body better than you. If a doctor doesn’t take you seriously and minimizes your symptoms, you need a second opinion. Keep a journal about your symptoms and prioritize your concerns by highlighting them. It might help when you see the next doctor so that they can order the right diagnostic tests. Journaling your symptoms also allows you to ensure that your doctor gets all the details. Find the right doctor. The goal isn’t to find someone you would hang out with, but you will want to find a doctor with whom you can have a good rapport. Someone who is professional, honest and has a good bedside manner could ease your fears and listen to you when you explain your symptoms and concerns. You might want to bring along a close friend or family member when seeing a doctor. There’s safety in numbers, plus, the other person can be a strong support system and advocate for you as well. Taking action is the best way to deal with medical gaslighting. It can help you get answers to all your concerns.