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Opinion

Opinion: Doctors treating women unprofessionally? It happens all the time

Maria Menounos
Maria Menounos underwent surgery recently to remove a benign brain tumor.
(Jordan Strauss / Associated Press)

To the editor: Thirteen years ago, I began to experience symptoms that led me to believe I had lymphoma. I visited several male doctors and they all dismissed my concerns. I was referred to a top ENT and dragged my husband along for support.

(Re “Female patients: It’s not ‘all in your head’ Opinion, July 26)

After explaining my symptoms, I asked if he thought I had lymphoma. He looked at my husband, rolled his eyes and said “you don’t have lymphoma, you have allergies and if I treat them, you will be fine.” My husband was shocked that a doctor would treat anyone in such an insulting manner.

I finally saw a doctor who listened to me. He sent me for a scan and sadly, I had stage IV, non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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I sent a letter to the ENT explaining my diagnosis and that I hoped he would listen more respectfully to his female patients in the future.

Laurie S. Adami, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Emily Dwass’ opinion piece repeats the charge that female patients’ complaints are ignored by doctors because of their gender.

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Her impression is not supported by research into this issue. A large nationwide review, which examined 46,868 office visits, revealed that the care received by men and women was similar about two-thirds of the time. When the care was different, women overall received more diagnostic tests and treatment — more lab tests, blood-pressure checks, drug prescriptions, and return appointments.

In the United States, we spend twice as much on the healthcare of women than on that of men. Even if you exclude obstetrical care, females at every age receive more medical attention than males. The charge that the healthcare of women is neglected because of their gender needs to be evaluated in that context.

Andrew G. Kadar, M.D., Beverly Hills

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