A Healthcare Professional Shares Her Experience With Medical Gaslighting – & Tips to Better Advocate for Yourself
Dr. Tracy Wilson, a Nurse Practioner based in Houston, Texas, began her journey into the healthcare field when she was as young as 8 years old. “When I was 8 years old, my mom had to have a hysterectomy,” she says. “She needed someone to clean her wound and so I became her little mini nurse.” Flash forward to 2015 when Dr. Wilson tested positive for strep and flu. Having numerous years as a healthcare provider, she thought it could be something more serious.
She went to the emergency room to seek additional care, thinking it could be meningitis but was met with dismissal from her doctor. Fortunately, she went to another emergency room a couple of days later where she tested positive for viral meningitis. “Looking back at this situation, I know now and understand that I was gaslit by this healthcare provider and I could have died,” she says. “I know how to handle myself in future appointments, but not everyone knows how to do that.” Read more below for Dr. Wilson’s advice for advocating for yourself in a medical setting.
Trust your instincts
“[Your instincts] are never going to steer you wrong,” she says. “Make sure you’re listening to what your gut is telling you to do.”
“Make sure that you understand exactly what is being said to you,” says Dr. Wilson. “Don’t leave that visit being unsure, and if they need to sit down with you longer, then they need to sit down with you longer.”
Research your healthcare provider
Just like you research a gadget or appliance, it’s the same sentiment for a new healthcare provider as you want to make sure you’re entrusting your health to someone who is compassionate and skilled in their field.
Dr. Wilson suggests going to your appointment with all of your questions written down, and not leaving until all of them are answered. “That’s what your healthcare providers are there for,” she says.
Seek a second opinion
Lastly, if you’re not satisfied with the answers or diagnosis, it’s okay to seek a second opinion. “Your very life may depend on it,” Dr. Wilson adds.
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