The son of a doctor shares advice for how female patients can be taken seriously by their doctors. The answer? Bring a male friend or partner with you to validate your symptoms.
In a now-viral TikTok with over 1.5 million as of Saturday, content creator Josh (@pardonmyjargon) explains how female presenting patients can help guarantee they receive the healthcare that they need.
The video begins with a clip from another video, where a woman is sitting in a waiting room. The text in the video reads, “How do you get a doctor to listen to you? Bring someone with you to validate your symptoms,” as she pans to a man sitting next to her in the waiting room, smiling.
Josh then cuts in with his own video, affirming that the woman’s advice is valid.
“My father used to work in a medical practice and this is some of the most solid advice that he actually gave my wife when we first got married: that if you actually want to be taken seriously and you are female presenting or you identify as a female, bringing a male counterpart with you, bringing your partner with you, bringing a friend who is male with you, can make a big difference on you being taken seriously about your care,” he begins.
@pardonmyjargon #stitch with @Allison Tennyson I hate it because it's true #selfadvocacy #pardonmyjargon #advocacy #doctorsvisit #medicalgaslighting #chronicillness ♬ original sound – Pardon My Jargon
Josh acknowledges the unfortunate and sexist nature of the advice. “And it is unfortunate, and he hated it, he hated having to tell me that. That’s just not something that my dad really struggled with, he always took all of his patients seriously. If they said they were in pain, he took it seriously,” he says. “But like, he would see his colleagues and even experience it in his own life and everything that he has gone through.”
He continues, saying that the male counterpart should also be able to recount your symptoms and day-to-day issues confidently.
“…and then, not only that, but having them give the rundown of your symptoms and the things that you go through in your daily experience and being able to talk about that confidently, will make a huge difference on your care,” he claims.
Josh concludes by expressing his hopes that such tactics will soon be unnecessary. “I hate it, and it is something I will get on a huge soapbox about,” he concludes “But it’s the reality of the way things are currently. And I’m hoping that’s gonna change.”
In the comments section, users shared their own experiences of needing a male counterpart present to receive serious medical care and attention.
“My mum got her male coworker to pretend he had her symptoms. Same doc that prescribed her tylenol prescribed him a CT scan,” one user shared.
“My mom nearly died of a pulmonary embolism cause the doc thought she was having period cramps. My dad literally had to grab the doc by the collar,” another said.
“I tried for 6 years before my partner went in with me ONCE. turns out it’s rare and terminal,” a third user commented.
“My wife and I have experienced this with a doctor, lawyer, accountant, and typically any man who interacts with women as part of their work,” one male user noted.
Sexism in healthcare has long been a subject of medical research. Among many other sex-based discrepancies, studies have shown that while women are more likely to experience chronic pain than men, they are less likely to be given painkillers, are made to wait longer to receive pain medication in emergency rooms, and are more likely to be told their pain is “psychosomatic” (in their head).
In light of such inequality, women have found ways to self-advocate in the medical setting by putting pressure on doctors who are hesitant to provide serious healthcare.
“I also use ‘I would like it noted in my chart that you refused to pursue my symptoms.’ And then ask for a copy of my chart,” one woman commented under Josh’s video.
“Absolutely this one,” responded Dr. Jolene Brighten (@drjolenebrighten), a female content creator and hormone doctor.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Josh via instagram for more information.
Update Oct. 12, 1:28pm CT: The original creator behind this viral talking point, @microcatmachine, has called out the Daily Dot for only affirming this point when it was made by a man and not focusing the story on her original TikTok. The Daily Dot framed its story around the man because it was his TikTok’s virality that originally made it to our FYP.
@microcatmachine Let’s do better, please. #EmpowerWomen #MedicalGaslighting #MedicalMisogony ♬ original sound – Allison Tennyson
We regret not giving her story more space.