“Medical gaslighting” is a controversial term that has emerged to describe a phenomenon some people – women in particular – may recognise. It refers to a patient’s feeling that their symptoms are not taken seriously, or are being misdiagnosed by healthcare professionals.
When she was 37, Eleanor presented at a hospital emergency department with severe chest pain. She was diagnosed with slightly high cholesterol and sent home. Three days later, she suffered excruciating pain and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. There, she was asked if she had suffered from panic attacks and was left overnight in a cubicle, before doctors realised she was having a heart attack. She needed eight cardiac stents. “I am sure no man would be asked if they suffer from panic attacks while they’re having a heart attack,” she says.
This article in the Irish Times asks why women are more likely to feel their symptoms are not being taken seriously by doctors.
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