Bias In Medicine: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

  • Published on Aug 19, 2019
  • John Oliver discusses the roles that gender and racial bias can play in medical treatment.
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Comments • 2 271

  • Erik Torbjørn Bjørnsson

    Is it weird that I’ve experienced bias as a white man? I went in for a kidney stone and my doctor told me that I have too much privilege to have minor medical problems such as that.

  • DaFiresMen
    DaFiresMen 16 hours ago

    Not to throw up any offense to anyone, but isn't there a biological difference between African Americans and other races? The only reason I ask is because of Sickle cell disease. I don't really have that much extensive medical training. I'm not saying it would change how I would treat a patient but I am simply curious.

  • Jess Vermont
    Jess Vermont 16 hours ago

    Heartbreaking and incredibly frustrating and sad on every level.

  • Dayvi Schuster
    Dayvi Schuster 16 hours ago

    Ugh must we simplify ever single problem down to: white man bad.

  • Trojan Rabbit
    Trojan Rabbit 16 hours ago

    Bias goes both ways though, it only took 6 years for me to get diagnosed with arthritis. I was repeatedly sent away being told that there was nothing wrong with me. Mind you my fingers were swollen to twice normal size. In my experience the level of care you receive, is how well off you appear.

  • Endovelicous Lusitannis

    Again, this is another one of the motives I repeat every single day: Ceterum autem censeo Murika esse delendam.

  • Flavien MAS
    Flavien MAS 16 hours ago

    There is real subtle difference between white and black people in medecine.
    For example, some drugs are less effective for black people, because they were tested on a white population.

  • Sam
    Sam 16 hours ago

    About the nursing book that was pulled:
    "Hispanics may believe that pain is a form of punishment and must be endured if they are to enter heaven"
    This is a real world stereotype and can actually come between medical treatment, causing death because the patient refuses to properly tell staff about the symptoms they're enduring.
    "Native americans might pick a sacred number when rating pain on a numerical scale"
    Sounds like a plausible thing. In the medical field you have to controle for the peoples retardation, as bad as it sounds it can be crucial to the best treatment. So if you have someone with 1/10 pain rating it 9/10 and give them opiods for something they don't need, you fucked up.

    Not to discredit the rest of the segment.

  • drekpaprika
    drekpaprika 16 hours ago

    I can relate to that but crack pain story. Hahaha

  • Syksy
    Syksy 16 hours ago

    These are important points but I wish they'd brought up OTHER biases in medicine too because sex and race are not the only ones. Poor people experience bias from doctors, trans people's issues tend to be attributed to HRT even when it has nothing to do with hormones, fat people's problems tend to be attributed to weight even when it has nothing to do with weight and sometimes they're just told to lose weight and then they die because you can't treat cancer with exercise.
    And there are probably a number of other ones that I didn't even think of.
    Edit: oh yeah, disabled people! There's a whole RANGE of biases there

  • Semyon Galtsev
    Semyon Galtsev 16 hours ago

    Dear fellow white liberals and centrists!
    This video does not say you're inferior to anyone or that you're bad people. Please, don't dislike it for something it's not doing.
    Thank you.

    Sincerely, a white 32-year-old male. (Admittedly, from Russia.)

  • Kiere Luurs
    Kiere Luurs 16 hours ago

    'Larry'. I get the idea, but not a good, neither a funny way of presenting it.
    Right, let's remake that part with Wanda lip synchronizing the recorded voice. That would be great, I think.
    Just a suggestion.

  • Rohit Rajagopal
    Rohit Rajagopal 16 hours ago

    Damn.. That "Black people having thicker skin" false narrative though.. Have those doctors been reading Luke Cage comics for some reason?

  • Sina Seirafi
    Sina Seirafi 16 hours ago

    The situation is definitely horrifying.
    But I just wanted to say that I absolutely hated John Oliver's stupid smile after the section the father was talking about his late wife.

  • Heavily Armed Easily Pissed

    You liberals are the most race obsessed idiots ever. Im black im a woman feel sorry for me cry cry cry

  • Arrakiz666
    Arrakiz666 16 hours ago +1

    Thank you for that "men here are those assigned male at birth." That was a nice thing to hear.

  • Mrcaptain AwesomeMan
    Mrcaptain AwesomeMan 16 hours ago

    Everyone just move to Sweden! Seriously! 90% of the issues and problems reported on “last week tonight” don’t exist here!

    II AM POTATO 16 hours ago

    It may be a taboo subject there are biological differences between races. Higher susceptibility to diseases (heart disease in blacks), a higher tolerance to anesthesia for people with ginger hair. These things do exist and claiming it's all racist nonesense is stupid.

  • Rolando Tokes
    Rolando Tokes 16 hours ago

    They also discriminate me because I have borderline personality disorder.

  • -
    - 16 hours ago

    amount of times ive been sent home only to be back there a week later 😐

  • Kiki Garba
    Kiki Garba 16 hours ago

    Finally 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

  • NiocoNiO
    NiocoNiO 16 hours ago

    Concerning biological differences between black people and white people in the US: African-Americans have been found to have a higher genetic risk factor for blood clotting, so the statement made by the doctors isn't that far off. The important thing is that these differences don't come from inherent racial differences but from the fact that most African-Americans came from the same part of West Africa where these genetic traits developed.

  • nerowwolfe
    nerowwolfe 16 hours ago

    I've had chronic migraines of such a regular period and severity I almost failed high school from missing so much class I've been hospitalized for the pain and for almost a year they have stopped giving me strong medicine because apparently that's all I'm after and "chances are hes exaggerating"

  • Viran Victus
    Viran Victus 16 hours ago

    Sorry, but this is some serious white guilt bullshit here. What you are complaining about is the difference between poor and affluent people. Its not race or gender. Framing it as such when you know it isnt true is why we have the sickening likes of Trump in office. Its amazing because as someone who is white and male I have received every bit the same amount of disregard as any black woman you can throw out. The difference is not because of gender or race, its because as far as a doctor is concerned I am poor white trash based mostly off how I look (like your run of the mill biker scumbag) Ive literally been sent out of a hospital while in the middle of a heart attack. I do not get offered pain medication. (even though I do not want it because it makes me violently ill for some reason) Ive been disregarded, treated like I am seeking drugs, ignored, forgotten (once for 8 hours) and yet its not because of any other factors than the way I look and that I am obviously poor.

    So kindly do not disregard my medical struggles as not relevant while you prop up your BS white guilt propaganda because an inaccurate correlation is still misinformation, and now, this. (Insert middle finger emoticon)

  • HuginAndMunin
    HuginAndMunin 16 hours ago

    ooohhh here we go, it's the race-/woman-card over and over again....
    I like John Oliver, but this is bullsh*t.

  • IrishPatriotic
    IrishPatriotic 16 hours ago

    Left wing nonsense. Of course certain ethnic minorities hold unusual beliefs like thinking pain is punishment and have affinity for "sacred" numbers. Its important doctors know these belief differences so as to treat effectively.
    Also fuck that cunt Wanda Sykes. Swathes of poor white people have died of opioids and this cunt turns it into a privilege rant.
    And the sad thing is, there are real issues that have to be fixed in healthcare. But this elvin effete prick virtue signals about nonsense

  • Rolando Tokes
    Rolando Tokes 16 hours ago

    I wasn't giving anything after I gave birth
    I was in pain for a week they only gave me ibu fukking prophen

  • Krasimir Ivanov
    Krasimir Ivanov 16 hours ago

    To be fair in most cases a man goes to a hospital after a serious work related incident or he is having a heart attack. We are not going because of abdominal or back pain and menopause symptoms. Of course we are easier to diagnose. Treatment usually involves a casket and 2 tonnes of dirt.

  • Charles Beavers
    Charles Beavers 16 hours ago

    Did he just say volcanoes have the clap?

  • Huītzilōpōchtli
    Huītzilōpōchtli 16 hours ago

    I think we should also look at sexuality as a major factor. Though the AIDS crisis disproportionately affected the gay community, it took Ryan White for a health care act to be rolled out. Not to mention the fact that it is still legal in many countries and states to discriminate against somebody based on sexuality.

  • S Boy
    S Boy 16 hours ago

    I kept thinking when are they gonna bring up the "I'd like to speak to your manager" bit... And they did it right at the end... BAM!!! LOL

  • Layson Brooks
    Layson Brooks 16 hours ago

    I had a similar experience with a pain management doctor within the VA medical system.

  • Nota
    Nota 16 hours ago

    And here I've been taught that there are no differences between men and women what so ever, mentally and physically.

  • J.P. Silva
    J.P. Silva 16 hours ago

    I come from a third world country and as a doctor I look at some of the public healthcare in America with horror. Things we've implemented decades ago are only starting to be implemented here.

  • julia schenk
    julia schenk 16 hours ago

    also fun: being transgender and going to the doctor.

  • LeAFyromster
    LeAFyromster 16 hours ago

    not gonna lie, was told by a doc once that i didnt have gout when i was already certified gout with pain. still wouldn't trust me with my meds, this was a different doc cause mine was on vacation. this new guy for some reason assumed i didnt have gout even though i came in specifically for gout i already know and got diagnosed for..... also im a 25 yr old asian man so i guess he thought I'm too young?

  • ColorMeIn
    ColorMeIn 16 hours ago +1

    As a black woman I’m already fully aware of the medical bias in this sh*thole country but I appreciate John Olivier so much for covering this for a larger audience.

  • FranciKatherine Melton-Jones

    She speaks the truth! I get treated different every-single-freakin-time I go to the doctors and my son or husband is with me. From instantly getting eye contact (back & forth ) to both of us. Right down to actually hearing the words “if your still having problems, let us know-we’ll do something different. That’s great! Because-I have a brain aneurism- not “stress headache 🙄😳

  • Drunken Deity
    Drunken Deity 16 hours ago +2

    I remember a doctor trying to explain his average day like this:
    He started by saying that there's a type of tumor called a glioma. It basically attacks the spine or brain and usually presents itself in children and there's nothing he can do it about it. Then he has to go home and chart (which is basically just documenting everything he did for insurance purposes) for 2 hours. Sleep a little, then go back to work and deal with some middle aged 40 year old with "back problems" which after further questioning admitted to just be searching for drugs. You have to remember the human component of doctors. They may not normally be so dismissive of certain symptoms but being a doctor is stressful and errors are made. Not to mention that they're also encouraged to save money (i.e. by not running supposedly unneccessary tests) by their hospitals. Before you start a mob against doctors for being racist sexist malpractice fucks, remember that it's so much bigger than just doctors. It's the hospitals, insurance companies, the lack of standardization, the stress, and the way medical practitioners are taught to deal with different groups of people.

  • Aj B
    Aj B 16 hours ago

    I broke my hand and had 33 screws and 3 plates... I asked for an ibuprofen. Just one. My period hurts worse than 1 shattered metacarpal, one broken in 5 places, one broken in 2, and one broken down the center.
    I was in a motorcycle crash after a texter hit me into a car that break checked at a yellow light to read a text... Getting all that hardware out I was told to take the pain killers... I saved all but 3 for PMS....
    I'm not strong, it's just that women deal with actual pain and get ignored so when we have a visible injury we are "so strong"
    Fun facts, hospital didn't charge me because they forgot I was a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic and almost sent me into DKA(your body killing itself) while I was in ICU... I almost died because they were ignoring me.....

  • CrazyHorse151
    CrazyHorse151 16 hours ago

    Wasn't this topic discussed in some podcast recently? The points made felt very familiar.

  • Nils Petras
    Nils Petras 16 hours ago

    Stating what misconceptions people may have about their health is quite an important thing, in communication and understaning patient behavior. I hope that Last Week Tonight did not overlook that, the story at 11:04 sounds a bit like such information. But maybe the book had a terrible, possibly racist understanding or way to put it.

  • grzlbr
    grzlbr 16 hours ago

    Racial hysteria is cancer.

  • informationtolearn 11
    informationtolearn 11 16 hours ago +2

    Great video!! Can you do a segment on divorce court?

  • Comrade Stalin
    Comrade Stalin 16 hours ago

    Too many white male doctors?
    Just give more scholarships to those Asians trying to be doctors kappa

  • barkergirl33
    barkergirl33 16 hours ago

    I'm a woman with a lot if tattoos. I suffer from chronic pain and mental health issues. I've struggled getting proper treatment for so many years because doctors assume that tattoos and dyed hair means you are just trying to score meds. Getting any kind of controlled substances is near impossible. Most says are really bad and I'm so tired of trying new providers.

  • MingTuck Chung
    MingTuck Chung 16 hours ago

    Oh good. Then fire all the doctors and be on your journey to become 3rd world.
    So many people die yet there is still an over population problem.

  • The Bronze Age of DC Comics

    Poor people are barely examined. I grew up welfare poor, briefly had money, and then went bust during the GR. Doctors treat you like a human being when you have money.

  • Rotzepopel
    Rotzepopel 16 hours ago +1

    This Bullshit gave me cancer.

  • Shaolin Style
    Shaolin Style 16 hours ago +2

    Wanda: We need more non-white doctors in actual hospitals.
    I can say: We need more midgets and dwarfs in the NBA.
    NBA is more biased than the medical field. You can control your academics but you can't control your height.

  • DudewithaK
    DudewithaK 16 hours ago +2

    "Bring a white man" is actually what I have done for most my life whenever I go to a doctor. Seems funny at first, but it is sad that I have used it as an actual strategy to be heard.

  • LLCzUnlimited
    LLCzUnlimited 16 hours ago

    After Leaving Neverland was shown to be full of lies, John could have made a great segment on sexual assualt allegations, but sadly, he's on HBO and has to be a shill for the netowrk.

  • Amélie Carré
    Amélie Carré 17 hours ago +1

    For starters we should ALL have bias training. Not just medical students and doctors.

  • Jess ¿
    Jess ¿ 17 hours ago

    When I was in nursing school in 2015; I was thought that B.S. about pain in "minorities". One of my teachers coined a term Hispanic hysteria or some such nonsense. I can't quite remember, because I tried to purge it.

  • Patt SKS
    Patt SKS 17 hours ago

    Says he cares about inequality in the health care system, supports the Clintons. Cunt!

  • musty moose
    musty moose 17 hours ago

    There is also bias against overweight people. They just assume any problem you have is because you are fat.

  • Mateja
    Mateja 17 hours ago

    Sex bias - surely a great problem we should tackle
    Gender bias - the same thing, gender and sex are the same thing, grow up people

  • Kiere Luurs
    Kiere Luurs 17 hours ago

    Well, there probably is a real black WEIGHT problem.
    But let's not forget there also is a general AMERICAN weight problem.
    The medical term is FAT ARSE.

  • Manga Mania
    Manga Mania 17 hours ago

    Can we replace john oliver by the other funnier comedion who looks less like a vampire?

  • Dan Pascut
    Dan Pascut 17 hours ago +2

    I'm a cardiologist working in a university hospital in Germany, here are my thoughts on tonight's episode
    1. The general impression was that of a very dishonest representation of today's medicine. The fact the 70 year old clips were inserted to make a point is an example. Yes 70 years ago we had ideas that we today know are false. But the show wants to make the point that some kind of bias exists now.
    2. Regarding the different approach to pain management or knee replacement, I as a cardiologist don't have the data, I would love to see a list of the sources used. I hope the LWT Team considers linking it's sources in the comments section.
    3. That a lot of times womens pain is attributed to emotional imbalance in hospitals is an outrageous statement for me, I've been practicing medicine for 10 years now and worked in different hospitals in different countries and I have never heard of this.
    IMHO this is a ridiculous statement. More than half of doctors and maybe 80 percent of nurses are female, how would something like this even come about?!
    4. 'those assigned male at birth' - this is politically charged language, which is not used in medicine or science - which shows the true motivation of the writers. In science we know that humans are a sexually dysmorphic species, which implies differences between the sexes. His next point actually confirms this when he says women tend to have different symptoms of a heart attack, which is true and only one of many differences.
    5. Heart attacks, finally my cup of tea.
    Let me just clarify something: the term heart attack doesn't mean anything in medicine and in popular language it can mean a lot of things : acute myocardial infarction (most often) problems with the heart rhythm, sometimes even pulmonary embolism, etc. I will use heart attack as a substitute for myocardial infarction.
    As said above, it is true that on average, females tend to have a higher rate of unspecific symptoms. This is a known problem for every cardiologist and emergency medicine doctor I have ever met. It does lead to a higher rate of undiagnosed heart attacks in women but this is not because of bias, its because often the symptoms are so unspecific there's no reason to check for a heart attack. I had a 60 year old fit women who played tennis (was left handed) and had pain in her left wrist after. Her family doctor thought it was a muscle or tendon thing and treated her with pain medication (which we give women, of course). She came in the hospital for a x-ray because the pain wasn't getting better. Because we DO know about untypical presentations in women, we did the relevant bloodwork which showed a heart attack.
    Specifically because of this known problem, practically every woman over 50 who comes in the hospital with some kind of pain receives a Troponin test (test for heart attack). The problem is many of these women go first to the family doctor or don't go to a doctor at all (because the symptoms don't seem so bad) and you can't do so may tests as a family doctor for financial reasons.
    BTW if sexes are as he says, assigned at birth, then doesn't that mean that it's fine to do all studies on one sex? He seems to want to have the politically charged cake and eat it too. Of course scientists recognise differences between the sexes, test them and try to come up with optimal therapies.
    6. The woman who says the young resident told her to go home because his job is to tell her what's not wrong with her.
    This is sort of true. If you come in with chest pain, my job is to rule out the things that are serious and could kill you. Your pain can have 1000 causes, it's not realistic to try to find the cause in the ED. If I ruled out the serious things, you can go home, go to a private practice and find the problem. I need places in the ED for people who have life threatening conditions. Now in the piece it says she had a heart attack but again because of this colloquial term, I can't know what she had(could have been a non life threatening arrhythmia). This does not imply that there are no mistakes, people, both men and women are being sometimes sent home. This has more to do with the imperfect nature of humans and not so much with bias.
    7. Race bias... As I do not work in the US, I don't have a good picture of what's going on but I am skeptical about some of these claims.
    He presents opinions with differences between white and black patients as patently racist (and some of them are) , however there are real differences in treatments. An example from cardiology is that some blood pressure medicines work better on black patients.
    He says the black males tend to get the short end of the stick here. Well which is it then? If we are to accept that doctors are unfamiliar with women anatomy and think they are hormone filled men, I would suppose that whatever race bias you put on top of that, it should result in black women being treated the worst.
    I'm gonna end this here because the post is already way too long. Just wanna say I'm a fan on John Oliver, watched every episode. This presents a problem for me, because if I found so many problems with this episode because I'm part of the industry, how much are other episodes infused with politics.

    TLDR: I think this episode is infused with political propaganda and severely misrepresented medicine.

  • videoomaster
    videoomaster 17 hours ago

    Where are the "femenist" when it comes to real issues?

  • firemagican2845
    firemagican2845 17 hours ago

    My mom passed away 3 years ago. She had the worst case of RA they had ever seen. She was diagnosed at 56 and died by 64 from RA related lung disease. She would insist that I go to the Doctor with her as they would never take her seriously if I was not there.
    I'll never forget when her insurance forced her to go a Pain Management Doctor briefly. He wanted to drop her from taking actual pain medication to taking otc Advil because she is just hysterical. Her RA Doctor had to gently remind him that her literal joints were being attacked by her body and her bones in her feet had literally splint down the middle in sections like if you put a block in between her toes and started hammering.
    They put her back with her RA Doctor for pain management after a $40K hospital stay.
    Still til this day I can hear that Doctor tell me she was just hysterical and that "this happens with woman. You can give them a paper cut and they'll cry". That man was the Gate Keeper for Alameda Counties Medi-Cal (Medicaid) pain management.

  • André Schwarzer
    André Schwarzer 17 hours ago

    This reminds me of the video about "White Squad" from a good time ago

  • d3fias
    d3fias 17 hours ago

    these AT&T segments used to be funny at first, now I just wait for them in each episode to validate my "this is just another ad" theory

  • TremereTT
    TremereTT 17 hours ago

    He said person of color...How is that not racist?

  • Andrew Schembri
    Andrew Schembri 17 hours ago

    In a segment about institutionalized racism, he mocks a man an innocent man who was the victim of institutionalized racism. Get fucked.

  • Chloe
    Chloe 17 hours ago

    this video confirms we havent made any real progress (race,sex,gender,age,etc) just drop a fucking nuke already

  • whatev466
    whatev466 17 hours ago

    This is very similar to the "Invisible Women" episode from the 99% Invisible podcast. If you want to learn more about bias in design in general check it out!

  • Quantumese Boy
    Quantumese Boy 17 hours ago

    I'm a white male and my experience with American medicine hasn't been any better.

  • Sizwe Japan
    Sizwe Japan 17 hours ago +2

    Man white privilege knows no bounds🤦🏿‍♂️ fyi that genetic differences between the races bs was used to justify slavery, lashings & treating black ppl like crap. I can't believe doctors still believe this

  • Ariemea Alice
    Ariemea Alice 17 hours ago

    Pretty sad this exposé didn’t include lgbt bias. I personally know several transgender individuals who were refused treatment, interrogated about their medicine, and, in one case, left to bleed severely and openly from a large wound after the doctor ripped off the dressing and left. Luckily, our mutual friend went out in the hallway and called another medical professional, (who was horrified), to come fix it, and they did. It was a really good start to a discussion, but I feel like it didn’t go far enough. I’d like to see a part two that takes disability, lgbtq+ issues, and economic status into account. I don’t want to detract from either of the horrendous issues discussed here, though.

  • Jabari Brooks
    Jabari Brooks 17 hours ago

    So the medical society believe black people are super human 🤔

  • Yog Sothoth
    Yog Sothoth 17 hours ago

    Is it possible to get the sources for those statistics? I feel like those data comes from self reported studies, and if that's the case then bias in doctors may be much lower than the statistics let you deduce.

  • Bart
    Bart 17 hours ago

    There is 1 more video on that larry's site...... Not that much "more"

  • Quantumese Boy
    Quantumese Boy 17 hours ago

    And I'm wondering why there is no cure for Lyme disease or even a reliable test...