Christina said she felt ignored by doctors for a long time. Her providers used to blame her body size when she talked about her health concerns.

She fell off her bike. Christina asked that her last name not be used when talking about her medical history. The doctor told me that I was overweight and it was putting stress on my joints.

Christina went to an urgent care center where an X-ray showed she had a chip in her arm.

Everyone can experience the experience of having one's concerns dismissed by a medical provider. A recent New York Times article on the topic received more than 2,800 comments, many of which recounted misdiagnos that nearly cost them their lives. Patients with long Covid wrote about how they were ignored by the doctors.

Women, people of color, elderly patients and L.G.B.T.Q. people have been disproportionately affected by the problem. Studies have shown that women are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed with certain diseases, and they often wait longer for a diagnosis. A group of researchers found that black patients were more likely to be referred to as non compliant oragitated in their health records than whites.

All the time, gaslighting happens. The co-author of the book "Heart smarter for Women" said that patients need to be aware of it.

There are some things you can do to advocate for yourself.

It can be difficult to spot gas lighting. Experts recommend that you watch for the following red flags.

  • Your provider constantly interrupt you and doesn't allow you to elaborate.

  • Your provider may question if you have pain.

  • Your provider won't talk about your symptoms.

  • Key diagnostic work won't be ordered by your provider.

  • You think your provider is belittling you.

  • You aren't provided with a mental health referral or screened for mental illness if your symptoms are blamed on mental illness.

Dr. Nicole Mitchell told her patients that they were the experts of their body. We try to figure out what is happening and what we can do about it. It should be a decision made together.

Records and detailed notes should be kept. Dr. Mitchell said to keep a journal where you can keep track of your symptoms. She suggests asking what are your symptoms. What time do you feel those symptoms? Are you aware of any events? What do you think about pain? Does it stay the same or change? How many days do you notice this pain?

All of your lab results, scans, medications, and family medical history should be kept in a safe place.

It's similar to seeing your accountant at tax time.

Do you have questions? Ask more. Prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask before your appointment and be prepared to ask other questions as new information is presented. If you don't know where to start, Dr. Mitchell said to ask your doctor what questions to ask.

A support person would be great. It can be helpful to have a trusted friend or relative with you when discussing a difficult medical issue.

It is possible to facilitate brain freeze when people are ill, scared or anxious. We stop thinking because we don't hear enough.

She said to speak with your support person about your expectations. Do you want them to keep their notes? Do you really need them there for support? Do you prefer that your friend or relative leave the room so that you can talk about private matters?

Don't think about your most pressing issue. According to the study, the average primary care exam is 18 minutes long. If you want to communicate with your doctor more effectively, you should take 10 minutes before your appointment to write down your reasons.

Next steps, pin them down. You should leave your appointment with a sense of security. Tell your provider that you want to know the best guess as to what is happening, plans for diagnosis or ruling out different possibilities, and treatment options, depending on what is found.

Providers that switch. About half of the misdiagnosed adults in the US could be harmful, according to a study. If you're worried that your symptoms aren't being addressed, you have the right to seek a second opinion.

It may be difficult to say that in many instances. It is not always easy to find another specialist who will take your insurance and can see you right away. Try to get a referral from your current doctor. You can say, "Thank you for your time, but I would really like to get another opinion on this." I need another specialist in your area.

You can speak with a patient liaison if you don't want to ask your doctor for a referral. Call your insurance company if you want to find someone in-network.

The conversation needs to be changed. If you decide to stick with your current provider but they don't seem to be listening, you should say something like: "Let's hit the pause button here, because we have a disconnection." You don't hear what I'm saying. I would like to start again.

I have been having these symptoms for a long time. I need help finding what is wrong. We need to figure this out together.

Support groups is something to look for. There are support groups for a lot of different conditions.

There is an online support group for women with the same condition.

She was referred to an infectious disease specialist who dismissed the breast biopsy.

Ms. Burdick said that her abscesses would open and drain on their own.

She spent a lot of time researching the disease. She learned of the test from the support group. Ms. Burdick asked her surgeon to order a test to find out if she had been exposed to a specific microorganism. She had an answer after seven months of investigation. She self-released a book to help other women.

She said that if the infectious disease specialist had looked further into it, she might have never needed surgery.

To a higher authority, appeal. The patient advocacy staff can be reached if you are in a hospital. The problem may be addressed with your doctor's supervisor.

If you are dissatisfied with the care you are receiving, you can report it to the Federation of State Medical Boards.

Any instances of abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, delaying diagnoses are reportable events that providers need to know about. Doctors need to be heldaccountable.