The Gender Bias Deniers: as important as this New York Times article is in helping to raise awareness of women’s heart disease, it was the public response to this that floored me. And when I say “the public”, I mean male physicians.
Women experience more chronic pain, yet paradoxically, women’s pain reports are taken less seriously.
The good news: over a dozen cardiac studies about women’s heart disease are being presented at the 67th annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver this weekend. The bad news: this remains a puny drop in the bucket out of several hundred new scientific papers presented about a diagnosis that kills more women than men every year. Some history behind the scarcity of sex-based evidence . . .
Dr. Brian Goldman said this about yet another study showing gender bias in cardiac care: “This is very significant. Women do wait longer than men for treatment – if they get diagnosed at all. There’s a saying about heart attacks: ‘Time is muscle’. The longer it takes to unblock a blocked coronary artery, the more heart muscle dies. We need to rewrite standard medical textbooks.”
Treating women’s heart disease: is it gender differences or gender bias?
It turns out that we may need to expand our attention beyond the existing gender gap in medicine that affects how women vs. men are treated. We also need to consider how implicit bias against groups or individuals can affect the way our physicians are making decisions.