Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Doing Harm
Cover of Doing Harm
Doing Harm
The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick
Borrow Borrow Borrow

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

In Doing Harm, Dusenbery explores the deep, systemic problems that underlie women's experiences of feeling dismissed by the medical system. Women have been discharged from the emergency room mid-heart attack with a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, while others with autoimmune diseases have been labeled "chronic complainers" for years before being properly diagnosed. Women with endometriosis have been told they are just overreacting to "normal" menstrual cramps, while still others have "contested" illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that, dogged by psychosomatic suspicions, have yet to be fully accepted as "real" diseases by the whole of the profession.

An eye-opening read for patients and health care providers alike, Doing Harm shows how women suffer because the medical community knows relatively less about their diseases and bodies and too often doesn't trust their reports of their symptoms. The research community has neglected conditions that disproportionately affect women and paid little attention to biological differences between the sexes in everything from drug metabolism to the disease factors—even the symptoms of a heart attack. Meanwhile, a long history of viewing women as especially prone to "hysteria" reverberates to the present day, leaving women battling against a stereotype that they're hypochondriacs whose ailments are likely to be "all in their heads."

Offering a clear-eyed explanation of the root causes of this insidious and entrenched bias and laying out its sometimes catastrophic consequences, Doing Harm is a rallying wake-up call that will change the way we look at health care for women.

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

In Doing Harm, Dusenbery explores the deep, systemic problems that underlie women's experiences of feeling dismissed by the medical system. Women have been discharged from the emergency room mid-heart attack with a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, while others with autoimmune diseases have been labeled "chronic complainers" for years before being properly diagnosed. Women with endometriosis have been told they are just overreacting to "normal" menstrual cramps, while still others have "contested" illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that, dogged by psychosomatic suspicions, have yet to be fully accepted as "real" diseases by the whole of the profession.

An eye-opening read for patients and health care providers alike, Doing Harm shows how women suffer because the medical community knows relatively less about their diseases and bodies and too often doesn't trust their reports of their symptoms. The research community has neglected conditions that disproportionately affect women and paid little attention to biological differences between the sexes in everything from drug metabolism to the disease factors—even the symptoms of a heart attack. Meanwhile, a long history of viewing women as especially prone to "hysteria" reverberates to the present day, leaving women battling against a stereotype that they're hypochondriacs whose ailments are likely to be "all in their heads."

Offering a clear-eyed explanation of the root causes of this insidious and entrenched bias and laying out its sometimes catastrophic consequences, Doing Harm is a rallying wake-up call that will change the way we look at health care for women.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • MAYA DUSENBERY is a writer and editor of the award-winning site Feministing.com. She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist for Pacific Standard magazine. Before becoming a journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 15, 2018
    Dusenbery, editor of the website Feministing, presents a canny and candid analysis of how modern medicine treats women in pain. She skillfully interweaves history, medical studies, current literature, and hard data to produce damning evidence that women wait longer for diagnoses, receive inadequate pain management, and are often told they are imagining symptoms that are taken seriously in men. Dusenbery exposes the biases underlying treatment for established conditions such as heart disease and discusses the “circular logic built into psychogenic theories” that keep conditions exclusively or commonly experienced by women, such as endometriosis and autoimmune diseases labeled as “contested illnesses.” Backed by patient stories that range from hopeful to horrifying, Dusenbery illustrates how often modern physicians dismiss women’s symptoms as arising from anxiety, depression, and stress. She’s fair to doctors, who are “fallible human beings doing a difficult job,” and her solution is simple—more funding for research that can find the causes for “medically unexplained” conditions and that can close the knowledge gap about sex and gender differences in disease. But the biggest paradigm shift Dusenbery suggests is to eliminate the trust gap and believe women when they say something’s wrong. Dusenbery’s excellent book makes the sexism plaguing women’s health care hard to ignore.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2018
    A sturdy account of how sexism in medicine is hobbling women's health care.When Feministing.com editorial director and lifelong athlete Dusenbery was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, she began an analysis of medical science's lack of understanding of autoimmune diseases. As she probed further and began hearing stories from women whose health complaints were either dismissed or misdiagnosed, the author developed serious concerns about the lack of attention paid to the potential differences between men and women. She places blame in part on the male-dominated medical industry, which approaches gender gaps and their separate health-related concerns lopsidedly and with a marked lack of knowledge and trust. In her well-informed study, Dusenbery traces the history of women's medicine and health care activism and presents a wide variety of anecdotal material from women who voice their experiences and their exasperation with a system that remains unsupportive, skeptical, and indifferent when confronted with reproductive issues, pain complications, sex-specific drug reactions, and general well-being. The same applies when addressing diagnostic delays, which can render a suffering woman unable to function in society or physically cope. The author notes that in matters of heart disease and women, the symptoms have been undertreated or misdiagnosed entirely under the universal "male model" platform of the condition. Her analysis progresses into greatly misunderstood issues of chronic pain, migraine disorders, endometriosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome, all supported with engaging stories of women who wound up either being considered "hysterical" or had their suffering categorized as psychosomatic. Within an organized, well-balanced combination of scientific and social research and moving personal stories, Dusenbery makes a convincing case for the need for drastic industry reform and clinical refinement. She also addresses larger issues of gender equality and how to confront a culture of sexism and rampant sexual harassment against women. A final clipped section on solutions, unfortunately, feels insufficient and begs for pages of elaboration.An intensive, timely spotlight on the gender disparities within the modern health care system that falls short on solutions.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2018

    Dusenbery (editorial director, Feministing.com) uses her diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis as entree into a discussion of medicine, research, and womanhood. The densely written three-part text starts with a focused feminist critique of the health-care system, highlighting the systemic dismissal of women's issues and complaints. Part 2 addresses the "Male Model" system, a long-term issue in health care. Researchers leave women out of this model for many reasons (e.g., their hormonal cycles make trials difficult to standardize), and consequently, providers treat and prescribe women based on male models. Throughout Part 2, and into Part 3, Dusenbery includes the medical narratives of women she has met, focusing on both the female absence in the male model and what she calls the "Neglected Diseases" of chronic pain, pelvic and gynecological pain, and contested illnesses. Prior knowledge of feminist theory is not required to enjoy this volume, but readers with that background will have a richer context from which to draw. Dusenbery also provides an in-depth "Notes" section with plenty of options for further reading. VERDICT For readers interested in a feminist critique of health care, especially in the treatment of women.--Rachel M. Minkin, Michigan State Univ. Libs., East Lansing

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Gloria Steinem "Ever since the centuries of burning women healers as witches, because they taught women how to govern our own bodies, thus to control reproduction—the medical world hasn't included all of humanity. Doing Harm shows what is left to be done, and directs both women and men toward healing."
  • Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters "Maya Dusenbery's exhaustively researched book is equal parts infuriating and energizing. No woman will see the medical establishment, and perhaps even more profound, her own body, the same way after reading it. In a just world, it would be required reading in medical schools from this day forward."
  • Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object "Maya Dusenbery brings new life to one of the most urgent yet under-discussed feminist issues of our time. Anyone who cares about women's health needs to read this book."
  • Leslie Laurence, co-author of Outrageous Practices "Dusenbery challenges a new generation of women and practitioners to fight for medical equity—shinning a harsh light on the sex bias that pervades every level of medicine. It's outrageous that such malignant neglect exists more than two decades after the government acknowledged the gaps in knowledge about women's health."
  • Jill Filipovic, author of The H-Spot "In this groundbreaking book, Maya shows how the same forces that hold women back in society more broadly lead to sub-par medical care and inadequate attention to health issues that impact women. Every doctor, scientist, health care provider and researcher should read this book. And so should every woman."
  • Kate Harding, author of Asking For It and co-editor of Nasty Women "Doing Harm is a deeply researched and very readable exploration of the systematic mistreatment of women in our medical system—and how even those with the best intentions perpetuate it. This book is an eye-opener; may it also be a call for real, sustained change."
  • Kirkus "An intensive, timely spotlight...Within an organized, well-balanced combination of scientific and social research and moving personal stories, Dusenbery makes a convincing case for the need for drastic industry reform and clinical refinement."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review "Dusenbery's excellent book makes the sexism plaguing women's health care hard to ignore...skillfully interweaving history, medical studies, current literature, and hard data to produce damning evidence that women wait longer for diagnoses, receive inadequate pain management, and are often told they are imagining symptoms that are taken seriously in men."
  • Ms. Magazine "an antidote to the isolation and maddening self-doubt that this all-too-common dismissal can impose. Her careful evidence answers the uncomfortable question that so often niggles in the doctor's office: 'Am I getting lesser care because I'm a woman?'"
  • NYT Daily "well researched, wonderfully truculent..."
  • Rewire "Doing Harm methodically and thoroughly lays out an indictment of the medical systems that still largely discount the experiences of women both individually and collectively. Doing Harm demands nothing short of system-wide change, starting with a call to providers at the most basic level"
  • Health.com "Dusenbery, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, masterfully takes down the wide-reaching systemic gender bias in science and medicine that prevents doctors from truly hearing female patients."
  • Pacific Standard "In her new book, Dusenbery provides a comprehensive and much-needed look at how sexism in the medical field is hurting women. Much of the discrepancy in treatment stems from the "knowledge gap," which Dusenbery writes about in depth"
  • Pacific Standard "Doing Harm demonstrates persuasively that subconscious gender-bias in medicine is very real and pervasive for women of all backgrounds, as doctors continue to apply a "one-size-fits-all" method of diagnosis and medical evaluation to their women patients."
  • Bust Magazine "Dusenbery peels back the sick layers of America's paternal healthcare system. She plays both patient and journalist, seamlessly combining history, research, and interviews into an easily digestible must-read. 5/5"
  • Tonic - VICE "Dusenbery digs deeper into the issue, exploring the way gender bias...
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    HarperCollins
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 5 titles every 7 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Doing Harm
Doing Harm
The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick
Maya Dusenbery
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel