What is medical gaslighting and why should we worry?

More and more we hear the concept of gaslighting (its translation into Spanish would be: “make gas light”) and is, no more, no less than various mechanisms of emotional and psychological manipulation in order to make the victim doubt his own criteria, experiences, emotions and even perception of reality.

The “novelty” (unfortunately, but real), however, is the connection of this concept with the universe of medicine. Today we are talking about medical gaslighting and we want to tell you what it is about.

The concept of gaslighting in the field of medicine refers to the situation in which the symptoms described by the patients are minimized, ignored and even related exclusively to psychological reasons. That is, when during the consultation the doctor ignores what you say and minimizes it to “Nothing”, “It does not matter”, without doing the appropriate research.

“We know it’s common for doctors to diagnose and treat men and women differently,” said Karen Lutfey Spencer, a researcher at the University of Colorado, in a New York Times article.

Just as a study was shared in January, which found that women were 32% more likely to die after surgery by a male surgeon, the medical surgeon gaslighting it also has a greater impact on the female population (and within this group, some ethnic groups are even more affected). According to some studies, one in seven appointments ends in a doctor’s misdiagnosis, and in most cases this is due to a lack of knowledge. In this context, a woman is more likely to be misdiagnosed than a man.

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