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22 May 2013 @ 08:26 pm
Update: I am revising my memoir entries at another blog I have on wordpress: http://tapati.wordpress.com/

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22 May 2023 @ 02:22 pm
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I keep reading about studies indicating that black people--including children--are not treated properly for pain because doctors and other hospital personnel mistakenly think they don't feel pain in the same way as white people. I have wondered whether this bias is sufficiently addressed in medical school.

Then I read this: The Patient Called Me 'Colored Girl.' The Doctor Training Me Said Nothing.


Medicine struggles with a chronic disease: racism.

Medical schools try to combat this disease with diversity initiatives and training in unconscious bias and cultural sensitivity. I’m about to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, so I’ve been through such programs.

They’re not enough.

Every one of us needs to own the principles that protect us and our patients from racism and bias. That means learning to see prejudice and speaking up against it. But that is far, far easier said than done.

Again and again during my four years of training, I encountered racism and ignorance, directed either at patients or at me and other students of color. Yet it was very hard for me to speak up, even politely, because as a student, I felt I had no authority — and didn’t want to seem confrontational to senior physicians who would be writing my evaluations.

These situations made me worry for our future: How can medical professionals address the needs of a rapidly diversifying population, when we cannot address prejudice within our own community? </blockquote>

See also:

Gender bias https://psmag.com/is-medicine-s-gender-bias-killing-young-women-4cab6946ab5c#.pxhno9uqz and http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/emergency-room-wait-times-sexism/410515/?utm_source=SFFB

Anti-fat bias and misdiagnosis: http://www.prevention.com/health/medical-fat-shaming

More about racial bias including pain treatment and medical school misinformation:

https://www.statnews.com/2016/03/10/medical-schools-teaching-race/ "Medical students looking to score high on their board exams sometimes get a bit of uncomfortable advice: Embrace racial stereotypes.

"You see ‘African American,’ automatically just circle ‘sickle cell,’” said Nermine Abdelwahab, a first-year student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, recounting tips she’s heard from older classmates describing the “sad reality” of the tests.


African Americans are routinely under-treated for their pain compared with whites, according to research. A study released Monday sheds some disturbing light on why that might be the case.

Researchers at the University of Virginia quizzed white medical students and residents to see how many believed inaccurate and at times "fantastical" differences about the two races -- for example, that blacks have less sensitive nerve endings than whites or that black people's blood coagulates more quickly. They found that fully half thought at least one of the false statements presented was possibly, probably or definitely true.

Moreover, those who held false beliefs often rated black patients' pain as lower than that of white patients and made less appropriate recommendations about how they should be treated.


Black children with acute appendicitis -- a clearly painful emergency -- are less likely than white children to get painkillers in the emergency room, researchers reported Monday.

And nearly as troubling, only about half of any of the kids got painkillers, even though they're strongly recommended in cases of appendicitis, the researchers found.
01 March 2016 @ 04:45 pm
Her experience is so similar to mine, right down to being called a liar.


26 December 2015 @ 07:16 pm

I wish I had seen a column like this when I was trying to understand a former friend's way of talking to me after I was diagnosed with multiple forms of chronic illness. I wouldn't have felt so alone with my conflict, for one thing, and might have gained more insight into her behavior. I was so confused and hurt and her challenges of nearly everything I said about my own life left me feeling worthless and stupid. I wish also that I'd read up on gaslighting.


"S. has been there for me, even when we were in different countries this past couple months. Now that we are back in the same place things have gotten… weird. Her new attitude is “question everything”, because she wants to be a teacher and apply that philosophy everywhere. Yet to me, her questions don’t seem to be coming from a place of wanting to know or understand, but to get me to self reflect. She has also said it is important for her to question me so I can “have a better understanding of the larger situation”, especially because I tend to “overreact”. It may sound dramatic, but I feel like I’m being interrogated a lot of the time. I don’t want a life coach that inadvertently victim blames me (which is why I go to my super lovely therapist), I want nerd out with my friend.

"I told S. that I love her ability to ask good questions, because it means we have really excellent dialogues, but that sometimes just jumping into questions about my personal issues without starting with validation or support is too much for me, and she responded with 'I can’t change who I am.' "
17 December 2015 @ 09:42 am
Alive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2NgsJrrAyM
I Had Cancer – And Medical Fat-Shaming Could Have Killed Me http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/medical-fat-shaming-danger/

Basically, young woman coughs violently from senior high to her twenties and keeps getting told oh it's an infection, here's antibiotics, lose some weight or it's GERD lose some weight while getting sicker and sicker. It was cancer all along. It's amazing she's alive.

Why investigate further when you can diagnose fat and feel like you've done your job.

On a related note, a woman just told the story in comments yesterday that she went in with appendicitis but docs were just sure she was pregnant or had an STD instead because she was young and black. Anyone knows time is of the essence when your appendix might burst--and of course hers did. :/

I don't expect all doctors to be magically free of bias. I DO expect them to question their bias regularly. How would I diagnose this if the patient were white, were thin, were straight, and so on?
28 August 2015 @ 04:50 pm
“Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.”
- André Gide
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25 August 2015 @ 06:11 pm
I raised the issue with AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) over a year ago:

"August 17, 2015

"Dear Conference Attendee:
AWP welcomes constructive commentary on how we can improve our services to all conference attendees, no matter where the conference is held. Recently, we received inquiries concerning accommodations for conference attendees with accessibility needs."


(See also: https://www.awpwriter.org/magazine_media/writers_news_view/3812/response_to_members_concerns )

My email to AWP:

March 3, 2014

Subject: Accessibility for future conferences

Dear AWP Conference Organizers,

I am aware that there are some writers who have attended your conference that had issues aside from wheelchair accessibility. I suspect there are more who either don't come or don't speak up because they are uncertain, as I often am, if their particular issues could be accommodated and because they feel some pressure to look "professional." While this doesn't affect me personally since I'm not a member, I do have a resource you might appreciate from another type of conference and how they handle various types of accommodations and signal to their attendees that they are ready and eager to do so. (I am more likely to request an accommodation if I see that there has been some thought put into my particular needs already so that I am not being "a bother.")


Just one of the issues that they've provided for is people who may get overwhelmed by the amount of sensory stimulation and people, those who have panic attacks, agoraphobia, claustrophobia and so on. I am aware that one of your attendees had this issue and my own adult daughter does too. Here is how WisCon talks about and accommodates people with this issue:

"WisCon is an energetic, some say wacky, environment. Finding stimulation is easy: here are options for managing stress and sensory overload.

"If you need quiet immediately, take an elevator to floors 7 through 11. The elevator lobbies there have comfortable chairs and usually no people.

"We've created the Quiet Place for those of us who need a break during the con. It's a small dark room on the 2nd floor between conference 1 and 2, with room for up to six members, furnished with comfy chairs, padded benches, footstools and a toilet. It's a good place to catch your breath, listen to your heartbeat, ruminate, and contemplate. The Quiet Place works when we respect its boundaries: please, no talking within. If there's someone waiting for a space, yield yours after 30 minutes. Breastfeeding mothers are welcome in the Quiet Place."

While it is not possible, as WisCon itself notes, to perfectly accommodate everyone given some have conflicting needs, it is possible to make the experience a great deal less stressful and allow people who may be new to their disability and asking for accommodations to feel very welcome to do so. I know I've gone through a lot of stages in my own adjustment to requesting disability access. And when a site seems to indicate that they've only thought about wheelchair access I am hesitant to bother them with special requests.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. I am sure you want to make your conference comfortable and open to everyone. It's difficult to think of every situation and often requires a panel of people with disabilities (as I believe contributed to WisCon's policies).


Tapati McDaniels
02 July 2015 @ 02:48 pm
Doctors Tell All--And It's Bad: A crop of books by disillusioned physicians reveals a corrosive doctor-patient relationship at the heart of our health-care crisis. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/11/doctors-tell-all-and-its-bad/380785/

It's interesting to hear the doctor's side of why doctor-patient interactions are so often strained when not actively hostile. There are so many changes that need to be made in our system.

See also http://www.amazon.com/Patient-Will-See-You-Now/dp/0465054749/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1435869222&sr=8-3&keywords=patient&pebp=1435869238002&perid=1G2YMT5N9DGSPXAZHP54