Medical Sexism: Is It Built Into The System From The Start?

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I've often wondered where the dismissive and sometimes even contemptuous attitude towards female patients started .... was it just that all male Drs were sexists from the start, or was there something in their education that fostered and/or supported these attitudes.

Here's a study that offers some insights ...

Sexism and anatomy, as discerned in textbooks and as perceived by medical students at Cardiff University and University of Paris Descartes … JUN 2014
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931546/

Here's a sample of what the research found ...

"Should the reader be in any doubt that there are equality and diversity (i.e. sexist) issues to contend with, a need for intervention/management is shown by some of the written comments made by students, a sample of which (designation confidential) is provided below:
  • A male colleague of mine told me that girls could only be GPs – so there's no point bothering with anatomy.
  • A girl in my dissection table answered a question wrong, and the demonstrator (a visiting clinician) said ‘No, you stupid woman!’
  • A woman's job is to open her thighs and to have big breasts.
  • One of the retired surgeons who demonstrated in the DR made it clear he felt female students were less capable of dissection than male students and would address all his questions to the boys despite girls volunteering correct information on a regular basis.
  • A female's appropriate occupation is the making of sandwiches.
  • Occasionally a member of staff either looked at me slightly inappropriately or mentioned slightly sexist comments.
  • I felt right at the start that the boys in my group thought that we'd be too ‘scared’ to dissect.
  • One of the surgeons made a joke about adductor muscles of the leg and women these days not closing their legs.
  • There was talk of prosthetic breast implants using some of the muscles from other parts of the trunk. Seemed irrelevant and uncomfortable. Added that it was ‘warm and comforting to have something there’.
  • On several occasions one particular demonstrator (visiting clinician) would make sexist comments, implying that females didn't know as much or shouldn't be doctors!!
Although comments of this nature were very infrequently expressed, those reported by the students are sufficiently shocking to show that overt sexism exists in even the best managed environments."


EDIT .... To correct publication date, and to add information ...
 
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Hopefully most of the worst of them are moving into retirement. And the next batches are not quite as bad as the prior batches. I bet the books don' t change much, bias wise.
 
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The most horrible classes I took contained the Pre-Med students. If they became the future doctors, no wonder I rarely seek one out.
 
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Hopefully most of the worst of them are moving into retirement. And the next batches are not quite as bad as the prior batches. I bet the books don' t change much, bias wise.
The research was written up about 7.5 years ago, so no wins there. In fact, it may be getting worse. Read the attached research is you're up to it, very revealing ...

EDIT ... to move data to OP ....
 
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so no wins there. In fact, it may be getting worse
Could be: here is a news report from India, which produces many doctors....

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/archive/himachal/colleges-battle-cadaver-shortage-714424

The religious issues raised may be limited to Indian medical schools (but likely applies to other areas training doctors, too).

There is a cadaver shortage, generally (anatomy to look at and practice on).

I'm going to argue that female cadavers are scarce to non-existent.

And it sounds like new medical schools do not have the staffing and equipment needed.
 
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The religious issues raised may be limited to Indian medical schools (but likely applies to other areas training doctors, too).
Only those whose predominant religions are Hinduism and Islam I'd think.
I'm going to argue that female cadavers are scarce to non-existent.
.... which is exactly what the article states ....
"Anju Pratap Kaundal, head, Department of Anatomy, IGMC, said: “We do not find any female cadaver due to religious beliefs and same hold true for doctors as well,” said Dr Kaundal."
And it sounds like new medical schools do not have the staffing and equipment needed.
This has been consistent in Indian medical schools since the inception of Western medical instruction .... Indira Gandhi tried to reverse this with absolutely zero effect ....


The article is a little over 3 years old, but I doubt much has changed ...
 
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There were no females cadavers in our cadaver collection at my college in the U.S., which was what I was referring to.
 
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Here is an interesting article from 2019 regarding how autoimmune disorders are addressed in medical school, US.

We know females tend to have more autoimmune issues.

https://www.the-rheumatologist.org/article/2-medical-schools-work-to-improve-rheumatology-learning/

Excerpts:

The pre-clinical rheumatology curriculum at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, used to consist mainly of portions of a musculoskeletal course, with up to only three instructional hours, and not always with a rheumatologist in the room with students. Systemic autoimmune diseases were never fully discussed in any of the pre-clinical blocks.

Students felt they weren’t learning what they needed to know.

“They felt autoimmunity was everywhere, and they didn’t know what it was,” said Beth Jonas, MD"...

Rheumatology coursework is now part of the multi-organ synthesis block. It starts with a pretest, and then covers four diseases:

  1. Lupus, because it’s considered the prototypic multisystem disease and is crucial to understand;
  2. Systemic vasculitis, seen as a way to teach vessel size and pathology concepts;
  3. Systemic sclerosis, which allows instructors to teach patterns of organ involvement and other concepts; and
  4. Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, an entrée into pediatrics and autoinflammatory disorders.
Teachers from many disciplines—rheumatology, nephrology, gastrointestinal and infectious diseases, for example—all participate, Dr. Jonas said.

We see the hill we must climb is steep, the crest is far. The rock is large.
 
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@YippeeKi YOW !! If my life were at stake and the problem was a mystery, I would much rather rely on you being the one to research the issue than the many medical professionals I've encountered.

I don't think the issue is so much one of sexism, as it is arrogance. And that would lead to sexism raising it's ugly head, so we're back where we started.

FYI, recently in Japan it was revealed that female applicants to medical school were being required to score much more highly than males to get admitted. Those administering these policies claimed it was because women might have to take time off to birth children. :headslap:
 
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@YippeeKi YOW !! If my life were at stake and the problem was a mystery, I would much rather rely on you being the one to research the issue than the many medical professionals I've encountered.
Well, I am a tenacious little bugger when something gets my dander up .... and what a very sweet thing to say, C. Cat !!! A compliment from someone held in high esteem is, like the commercial says, priceless.....
I don't think the issue is so much one of sexism, as it is arrogance. And that would lead to sexism raising it's ugly head, so we're back where we started.
It is indeed a combo plate .... but I do think that women, and their shabby, dismissive treatment, may be the first course to that arrogance, which then is generously spread wherever the members of the medical community choose.


But such, sadly, is the nature of the world, that they can get away with it much more easily with women, who are thoughtful enough to often just quietly die off before they can be a lingering problem, and also have more difficulty finding a receptive ear with which to share their issues and problems Because, you know, we're all such dismissible, feebleminded hysterics.

It's interesting that ME seems to draw out a more evenly distributed, universally shabby treatment, placing all patients, male and female, on the same uneven field as far as their diagnosing Drs are concerned.
FYI, recently in Japan it was revealed that female applicants to medical school were being required to score much more highly than males to get admitted. Those administering these policies claimed it was because women might have to take time off to birth children. :headslap:
OMIGOD !!!! That old chestnut !!! That's the same 'reasoning' that kept women out of medicine (and pretty much everything else of worth) for several centuries even here, in the brave New World.


I'm wrestling with the logic .... do higher female scores guarantee infertility? Or is it that the progeny of those high-scoring female applicants actually spring out of the womb mixing their own formula and changing and laundering their little diddies?

'Tis a puzzlement ...:wide-eyed::wide-eyed::wide-eyed:

EDIT .... for missing participle. At least I think that's what it was, I slept thru grammar classes ..
 
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