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How Doctor Bias Can Lead to Permanent Harm

Published on Apr 30, 2020 at 6:14 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Doctor holding clipboard

When we go to the doctor, we expect to be treated for our ailments regardless of who we are. It’s in the medical oath that doctors are unbiased about who they care for. So when doctors are biased, not only is it physically harmful to the patient, but it can also take an emotional toll on them.

In Lexington, our population is full of people from different races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds who all deserve to receive the same level of medical care. At Golden Law Office, we believe that every patient deserves the best care. If you received medical treatment that was subpar and caused you harm, a medical malpractice lawyer from our firm can help you recover compensation for the damages that you endured from improper care.

What Is Doctor Bias?

Unfortunately, doctors are just like regular people and can be biased in a number of ways when they see a patient. They should be professionals without bias, implicit or otherwise, but that’s not always the case. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), implicit bias is when a person unconsciously holds negative feelings about a person or group of people, but their conscious attitude differs. Biases can be shown through a doctor’s language, actions, and worst of all, through the level of care that they provide to their patients.

In the simplest way, they can be biased from other doctors’ reports and opinions about a patient or their condition. When they base their medical opinion on another doctor’s observation rather than their own, their patient can suffer.

Even worse, doctors can have implicit bias and prejudices against who their patient is as a person. Some more well-known prejudices are of race, gender, ethnicity, and age, but there are other harmful biases in healthcare, like a patient’s insurance plan, lack of insurance, or their income. For example, if a doctor is sexist and racist, their patient who is a woman of color will not receive care at the level she deserves because of her doctor’s implicit bias.

How Can It Lead to Permanent Harm?

Doctor bias can cause emotional harm to patients and can also lead to physical harm. When a doctor is prejudiced, consciously or not, they can make decisions that lead to permanent harm for their patients. For example, gender bias has caused women to be three times less likely than men to receive knee replacements because women are incorrectly assumed to cause a greater fuss about pain, or that they don’t do activities that are as vigorous as men.

These assumptions can lead to permanent damage in this scenario because even though the woman needs her knee replaced, her doctor has assumed she isn’t in as much pain as she says she is or that her activity level does not require the operation. If this delayed diagnosis forces her to wait too long for the replacement, she will be less likely to recover mobility in her knee even after the surgery.

Patients can also tell when a doctor has a bias, and so they are less likely to trust that doctor. When this happens, they might not follow their doctor’s instructions for medication or surgery, which could put them in harm’s way.

Golden Law Firm Can Help You

Doctor bias can easily lead to medical malpractice, which can be devastating for a patient. If you’ve experienced a missed diagnosis or any other mistake that qualifies as malpractice, then you could use the help of a medical malpractice lawyer from Golden Law Office in Lexington. We will fully investigate your claim and figure out exactly where your doctor or physician went wrong. We know how hard this physical and emotional recovery can be, and we want to make your healing process as easy as possible by handling the legal side of things for you. Reach out to us today so that we can get started on your claim.

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