Accessing quality medical care is, understandably, crucial for spoonies’ wellbeing. For patients living with any serious illness, there are many barriers that can inhibit access to care — geography, cost, insurance, time, symptoms, transportation, knowledge of your particular conditions… One prominent type of barrier is bias in medicine. Here are our 5 tips for how you can self-advocate when you feel the effects of bias!
1. Remember that all people have biases.
This doesn’t necessarily make us bad people, and that doctors are often burnt out and compassion-fatigued. It never feels good to encounter bias, but it can help to remember that doctors are just people.
2. Carry the research with you.
If you anticipate skepticism, bring a printout of research to back you up in case they need reassurance.
3. Bring another advocate.
Medical PTSD and brain fog can make it tough to be your most assertive, confident self. Having someone there who knows the drill, believes you, and isn’t afraid to speak up, can be a game-changer.
4. Phone a friend.
Do you have someone who always helps you feel validated? Consider scheduling with them to be available by phone right after the appointment. That way, if it doesn’t go well, you can minimize the emotional impact by decompressing right away.
5. Give positive feedback.
Consider sending a note when doctors treat you well; be specific about what was helpful. It will help them remember what to do the next time, whether for you or someone else, and will raise general awareness bit by bit!