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Why are women victims of medical malpractice more often?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

Medical malpractice can affect anyone, but research and statistics indicate that women are disproportionately affected by this kind of professional failure.

This troubling trend can be attributed to several factors, including gender biases in healthcare, differences in communication styles and a lack of understanding of specific health conditions unique to women.

Gender bias in healthcare

One of the primary reasons women are more frequent victims of medical malpractice is gender bias in healthcare. Studies have shown that women’s symptoms are often taken less seriously than men’s, leading to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. For example, women experiencing heart attack symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed with anxiety or other non-cardiac issues, which can result in inadequate treatment and severe consequences. This bias can stem from outdated stereotypes and a lack of awareness about how certain conditions manifest differently in women.

Communication styles

Women often have different communication styles than men traditionally do, which can affect their interactions with healthcare providers. Women are generally more likely to describe their symptoms in detail and express concerns about their health. Unfortunately, these detailed accounts can sometimes be dismissed or misunderstood by healthcare professionals, leading to inadequate or improper treatment. Conversely, men’s typically more succinct descriptions of symptoms may be taken more seriously, resulting in quicker and more accurate diagnoses.

Women’s health issues

Certain health conditions and treatments are unique to women, such as reproductive health issues, pregnancy and menopause. These areas of medicine can be complex and require specialized knowledge. Mismanagement of conditions like endometriosis, ovarian cysts or complications during childbirth can lead to significant harm and are areas where medical malpractice claims are common. Until the medical profession starts treating women more wholistically, such errors are likely to persist.

The higher incidence of medical malpractice among women is a multifaceted issue that is not the fault of patients. Yet, by understanding the underlying causes, broader society can work towards reducing instances of medical malpractice and ensuring better health outcomes for women. And in the meantime, women can hold negligent practitioners accountable for their harm.