When it comes to bias, doctors need to do their homework
“I have no doubt, given my extensive experience in health care and being a Black woman in America, that we as health care professionals have made the same mistakes as Chris Harrison with our patients. Instead of listening to and validating our patients’ concerns, we make excuses for ourselves or the people who have caused the injustice that our patients are experiencing. Effectively we delegitimize or invalidate their concerns, and we exacerbate their pain due to the experience. In some ways, our role as clinicians, combined with the reason for them seeking health care, magnifies and even eclipses the pain from the original experience causing an even more damaging effect. Whether or not we believe their experience is real or perceived is irrelevant. We are no authority to know the difference, and when a patient is in our care, it is our responsibility to place their needs first.
As health care professionals, we should strive to validate our patients’ feelings and offer comfort whether or not we agree about the etiology. Resist the urge to justify or defend the perceived abusers. I believe that this could potentially improve our relationship with our patients and improve their care and, as a bonus, make us more empathetic to the other people in our lives.”
Monique Rainford is an obstetrician-gynecologist.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “When it comes to bias, doctors need to do their homework.” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/07/when-it-comes-to-bias-doctors-need-to-do-their-homework.html)