In some cases, men and women will have very similar symptoms for specific conditions, and the doctor will know what type of diagnosis to make almost immediately. However, there are also many cases in which symptoms can be different, and this can lead to a misdiagnosis.
It’s problematic when doctors assume that the symptoms they are going to see are always the same. They may assume that the symptoms would be similar to what they would face, based on their own gender, or simply based on the gender of the patients they see most often. Doctors need to make sure that they consider the unique factors in every case — and the way that gender can play a role in that.
One example of medical differences between the sexes: Heart attacks
One key example of this happening concerns heart attacks, which typically manifest via chest pain for men. This is the main issue that male patients are going to complain about, and it’s one of the main things that doctors know to look for to see if a heart attack is occurring.
Women may have chest pain as well, but it has been shown that they will more often talk about things like nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness and shortness of breath – just to name a few of their symptoms. They may mention chest pain as a secondary issue or they may not mention it all because they’re much more concerned about these other factors. This can cause the doctor to overlook the fact that the woman is having a heart attack, and she may be sent home, something that can be a fatal mistake.
If you have lost a loved one due to a doctor’s error or oversight, then you need to know what legal options you have. A medical malpractice claim won’t restore your loved one to you, but it can provide a measure of justice for your loss.