The medical education provided to physicians and nurses in New York often fails to address gender-based differences in symptoms and disease. A 2016 survey of medical students revealed that less than half, 43.1 percent, received instruction about gender differences in medicine. The author of the study said that medical research and education still strongly focus on managing disease in males. Three-quarters of animal testing studies only involve male animals.
A lack of research and interest in gender-based medical differences results in medical providers failing to recognize symptoms in females. For example, chest pain is a hallmark of heart disease in men, but women usually have different symptoms like fatigue. These differences cause women to receive inaccurate diagnoses for heart disease 50 percent more often than men.
Autoimmune diseases overwhelmingly strike women as well. The lack of familiarity with female disease could account for the lengthy diagnostic delays experienced by women with conditions like multiple sclerosis, lupus or thyroid issues. On average, a person with an autoimmune disease has to see five physicians over the course of 4.6 years before hearing an accurate diagnosis.
Women also face an uphill battle when they report pain because medical providers want to dismiss their complaints. Studies show that medical personnel too often consider their pain to be psychological instead of a real sign of disease.
Ignoring symptoms could at times represent medical negligence. A person who suffers harm because of a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or medication error could investigate the possibility of filing a medical malpractice claim. An attorney could ask an independent medical expert to review the client’s medical records. Expert testimony attesting to negligence could build a lawsuit. An attorney could pursue a settlement for medical bills, suffering and lost pay through negotiation or litigation.