Doing Harm

Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg
Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this shocking, hard-hitting exposé in the tradition of Naomi Klein and Barbara Ehrenreich, the editorial director of Feministing.com reveals how inadequate, inappropriate, and even dangerous treatment threatens women’s lives and well-being.

Editor of the award-winning site Feministing.com, Maya Dusenbery brings together scientific and sociological research, interviews with experts within and outside the medical establishment, and personal stories from women across the country to provide the first comprehensive, accessible look at how sexism in medicine harms women today.

Dusenbery reveals how conditions that disproportionately affect women, such as autoimmune diseases, chronic pain conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease, are neglected and woefully under-researched. “Contested” diseases, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, that are 70 to 80 percent female-dominated, are so poorly understood that they have not yet been fully accepted as “real” conditions by the whole of the profession. Meanwhile, despite a wealth of evidence showing the impact of biological difference between the sexes in everything from drug responses to symptoms to risk factors for various diseases - even the symptoms of a heart attack - medicine continues to take a one-size-fits-all approach: that of a 155-pound white man.

In addition, women are negatively impacted by the biases and stereotypes that dismiss them as “chronic complainers”, leading to long delays - often years long - to get diagnosed. The consequences are catastrophic. Offering a clear-eyed explanation of the root causes of this insidious and entrenched bias and laying out its effects, Doing Harm will change the way we look at health care for women.

©2018 Maya Dusenbery (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The more you listen, the more personal it gets

I am a massage therapist. I have learned over the years to listen to my clients. They tell me what they’re feeling and what they need. Then during the massage I “listen” to their bodies. The response to my touch tells me even more about what they need without saying a word.

Unfortunately, many medical professionals haven’t learned to listen to their patients. Maya Dusenbery provides extensive and sometimes heartbreaking evidence that women in pain have been ignored for years. The stories are real and the diseases are fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

I say this book gets more personal because eventually Ms. Dusenbery describes symptoms that someone we know has suffered while we stand by helpless. But she also provides hope by telling us there are doctors and researchers who believe their patients and who can advance the treatment and relieve the pain.

In addition to the content of this book I also commend the narrator, Dara Rosenberg. When a narrator makes me believe that I am listening to the author, then I am doubly impressed, by the writing and the reading.

12 people found this helpful

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One of the most important books ever written

As an endometriosis patient I wish I could give a copy of this book to every doctor I have ever seen, my entire family and both my close friends and all the friends I have lost in my journey. Listening to this book was one of the most validating experiences of my life, because I was finally hearing the vast majority of research I had come across in the last ten years clearly and thoughtfully explained with objective research and patients first hand experiences Thank you Maya Dusenbery for putting together this resource, I will do my part to spreads it's message and use it to push for change in the medical community by empowering patients to demand better.

15 people found this helpful

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This book is a must read.

Extremely important, well researched, reasoned, balanced and interesting book that exposes problems and limitations with modern medicines knowledge and treatment of women's health. Explores areas of medical science that need further and more rigorous research-which should be seen as challenging, important and maybe even exciting frontiers of science and medical research that would expand, build, and round out our knowledge of disease, pain, and human health. This book should be required reading for medical students.

5 people found this helpful

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Just too repetitive

While the subject matter was fascinating the book was just too repetitive and long. I feel like much of this could have been summarized and still be incredibly informative.

3 people found this helpful

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Driven narration of a very revealing book

Dara Rosenberg truly brings this text to life. I was struggling to read my physical copy so I starting the audible version and it made all the difference. Not only was the narration very driven, but I learned so much from this book. I am one of these women who have taken a decade to get a diagnosis, so I've had to do plenty of my own research, but there is more in this book than I ever could have known about why women go untreated and how symptoms vary between the sexes. There is something so sobering about reading the history of how women have had to claw their way to real care and realizing that, if I had been born just a few decades earlier, I would've be diagnosed with hysteria.

3 people found this helpful

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I feel less alone!

Listening to this helped confirm that what I’m going through is very real and I’m not the only one being written off by doctors. This is incredibly well researched, back up by numerous facts and studies, but it’s the personal accounts that really make the book. If only this book could be read by many of the Doctors, who dismiss auto immune diseases as ‘all in our heads’.

3 people found this helpful

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Powerful

Every woman should read this book. Very empowering and supportive for women’s health. Thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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Incredibly informative and a must read

I have a few female friends with chronic illness that have struggled through the medical system, so I already knew that we definitely have some issues when it comes to the medical system. But holy hell it goes even deeper than I thought. This book is filled with stats and stories that show how deeply flawed our medical system is when it comes to women’s health.

The one that got me the most was her chapter on heart attacks and chest pains. I could not believe how many women get turned away IN THE MIDDLE OF A HEART ATTACK because they don’t exhibit male symptoms. Like I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to go to a doctor, get turned away, and then get told later “oh yeah, you had a heart attack earlier.” Like what the hell?!

It makes me angry how doctors and researchers are letting their egos get in the way of helping women. The fact that doctors would rather chalk it up to “hysteria” or “somatoform disorders” than actually looking into finding the cause of their pain or issue is astounding. It was interesting to hear Dusenbery talk about how few doctors will admit or even know that they’re wrong. She brings up an example where less than 1% of the doctors in this conference say they’ve ever misdiagnosed someone. It’s typically because they never find out that the person they diagnosed with a somatoform disorder rather than the real disorder never comes back. Which frankly, if it was me, I’d be busting into that doctor’s office with my diagnosed and yelling about how much he sucks lol.

It was also surprising to me how many female nurses are referenced as shaming other women. Like I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but like, support other women y’all!?! There’s one example where when a doctor gives a diagnose, the patient asks if it could be something else. The doctor says no and leaves basically. But then the female nurse is like “You shouldn’t question him. He doesn’t like that.” I would’ve been like “I don’t a f*ck what he likes.” But that’s the privilege of being a male I guess. It would never happen to me like that.

The piece on how the internet has changed the game for women was also eye opening. I’m always a fan of the internet (and yes, I know there’s some parts that aren’t great) but the fact that women could do some research online and find others like them, and finally feel like they aren’t alone is so touching. And I like that Dusenbery brings this up, but also points out that the fact is we shouldn’t need it to be this way.

I will say while the stats are important, it made it a little dry at times because of how statistic heavy it is. There were also a couple times that I felt she kept repeating the same thing. I also felt she could’ve discussed fatphobia and transphobia a little more. I know it’s the main point of the book, and I like that she’s very upfront about that in the beginning. But I think this idea of how no matter what is wrong with you, it’s going to be blamed on your weight or your trans-ness. Like even a broken arm is the example she gives. I would’ve loved to talk more about that.

But I greatly appreciate how often she talks about how the issues are impacting women of color but they are often even more stigmatized in the medical system. Such an incredibly needed discussion. Overall, I think every medical school in the country needs to make a course on bias in medicine and this book should be on the curriculum. Definitely pick it up. Also it was great on audio.

1 person found this helpful

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Narrarator is poor.

The narrator's poor use of pauses and emphasis makes this otherwise interesting book very difficult to listen too. Disappointing. I would stick to the Kindle version on this one.

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Not What I Was Looking For

I’m interested in learning more about the health consequences of sex differences. But this book seems to be full of polemic and meticulously detailed political history and sparing on the medical information. This book is more about how exactly it is that sex and gender bias in the medical research community has historically created a lack of information on women’s health beyond the bikini areas, than it is about the solid information we DO have.

I didn’t make it past 2 hours listening because I really can’t take another 9 hours of which regulatory commission made such and such ruling about female inclusion in tissue sampling and how this and that subcommittee found that no one was following the rule, so XYZ outraged congressional hearing brought the matter in front of Acme Medical Council. Barf, it’s not worth it!

1 person found this helpful