The term “medical gaslighting” describes the experiences of patients who have their symptoms dismissed as trivial or labeled as “all in their head” by healthcare providers.
In this replay session, we aim to not only learn more about medical gaslighting, but also identify examples in our own lives where we have been gaslighted. We hear from patient leaders telling us how they handled the situation and we talk about what we can do as a community to stop it in its tracks.
Key points to remember:
- Medical gaslighting is used to describe patients who felt their symptoms were labeled as insignificant or psychological (“all in your head”) by healthcare providers. This can lead to delays in urgent diagnosis and treatment.
- Many patient leaders have experience with medical gaslighting, and it can happen to anyone. It is especially common with lesser-known conditions, conditions with complicated diagnostic processes, or conditions that are not yet understood.
- Medical gas lighting can result in patients having less confidence in the healthcare system.
- Learning to assert yourself with strength is an integral part of the fight against medical gaslighting.
Meet the panelists:
Ashanti Daniel worked as a registered nurse caring for critically ill and/or premature newborns. However, for almost 5 years (since August 2016), her superpower has been living with crippling chronic illnesses as a single mother, finding the silver linings after completely turning her world upside down and advocating for chronic illness WARRIORS as much as her illnesses. authorized.
Shekita green is the mother of 2 teenagers, the wife of an army veterinarian and an entrepreneurial-minded businesswoman. In January 2013, she began experiencing terrible nerve pain, back pain and numbness in her fingers and toes as well as piercing headaches. A month later, nausea. After a series of hospital visits and tests, she was diagnosed 2 months later with BBPV and began her journey as an owner operator in WA State. She lived through running operations, but was left with nystagmus and symptoms of vertigo. She moved to Houston, Texas to take over an office. She kept putting everything to work but was rushed to the emergency room again after a debilitating migraine. After her final test which included a lumbar puncture and MRI, she tested positive for the Aquaporin-4 antibody and was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica.
Laura Wheatman Hill is a person, parent, and writer from Oregon. She has two children, both of whom have their own “stuff” that requires a lot of her. In her own story, she’s had migraines since she was a teenager but wasn’t quite sure how best to treat them, leaving them to mostly “go away on their own.” Becoming a lawyer actually helped her get the help she needed to function better, just when her migraines were becoming more chronic. Additionally, she realized that she suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome, a condition she had been tricked into believing did not exist. Once she got her medications that were contributing to these two conditions under control, as well as her mental health, she was able to live a much healthier and happier life overall. She still has migraines and is figuring out her best treatment plan. It still manages RLS. She is still working on her mental and physical health. But, being an activist and being part of her community has been a huge gift for her.
Bridget Gawinowicz is Director of Community Development at Health Union, where she has worked with the axial spondylitis community since 2019. She also leads the company’s Patient Leader Council, which helps get feedback on company projects from the perspective of view of the patient leader to ensure that all initiatives are patient. centered and accessible. She lives in Philadelphia with her boyfriend and 2 beloved rescues, Molly and Cookie.