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 • 18 081

  • Landcervelatwurst
    Landcervelatwurst 27 minutes ago

    Every time i hear about education in america, even for doctors it seems, i am so happy to be european. I can't imagine having a medical professional not taking me seriously, if that happened to me, i would just leave and go to the next.

  • Montesama314
    Montesama314 5 hours ago +1

    Hey, ever wondered why the opioid epidemic seems to largely affect whites more than anyone else? Hmm...

    • momo penguins
      momo penguins 3 hours ago

      1) no I didnt 2) wait thats a good point 3) does it really (oof), I would research this but I assume you know a bit about it so you can explain and all I would have to do is fact check

  • Justin Mochi
    Justin Mochi 5 hours ago

    So the people who spend decades getting degrees at these liberal, socially progressive colleges like Harvard are racist/sexist? Ok I didn't like them anyway.

  • Felix Loewenich
    Felix Loewenich 6 hours ago

    Too white to talk about it? That's such a stupid idea

  • Karl Renner
    Karl Renner 8 hours ago

    Donald Trump is the Billy Graham of bigots.

  • Hugh Manetti
    Hugh Manetti 9 hours ago

    God knows I love John Oliver.

  • Madeleine Waters Media
    Madeleine Waters Media 19 hours ago +1

    Amazing piece and I love Wanda so much. I’m surprised he didn’t mention Serena Williams blood clot story tho- that was some insane racial/ sexist bias

  • XzTS
    XzTS 21 hour ago


  • Zain Hakeem
    Zain Hakeem Day ago +1

    Unfortunately, this is a fantastically naive consideration of this issue. It completely ignores the issues of Bayesian diagnostics, harms of over diagnosis, and the opiate epidemic. I love your show, Mr. Oliver, but I'd ask you to follow me on hospital rounds for a few days to learn the truth behind the so called medical "bias". This episode completely misses the actual issues and challenges.

  • badem
    badem Day ago

    what a load of crap!

  • Cheyenne Le Hale

    Seriously, "Bring A White Man" is an effective way to get good medical care. If I go to the doctor or ER alone, the medical professionals don't listen, or worse, leave me in a room alone, for hours, to receive zero medical treatment prior to being sent home, but if I drag one of my white male friends along, to basically repeat everything I say, I receive actual medical care.

  • Mohammed AlModhayan

    There is bias, I don’t think it’s straight forward gender or racial bias thou.
    It’s income bias.
    Hear me out here.
    Whites are more likely to earn more income than blacks, therefore, they are more likely to be treated in better hospitals or by better doctors.
    Same goes with gender. Males are more likely to earn more income than females, therefore, they are more likely to receive better and more expensive medical treatments than females.
    To measure gender bias or racial bias here, you need to look into countries where income and medical treatment are not correlated. In other words, look into countries where medical services are free and equally distributed.

    • Mohammed AlModhayan
      Mohammed AlModhayan Day ago

      And no. Wanda Sykes is not a representative here and can’t talk about bias medicine. She’s rich, and no doctor is going to mistreat Wanda.

  • Marissa Enriquez

    When we accept that sexist & racist institutions exist we collectively create that fiction in our lives and misconstrue the world around us. Sure there are racist people but this is victim hood mentality straight to the brain. These stories are personal anecdotes. The far and few chosen out of countless cases. These articles are hand picked.
    I’m just saying
    I used to believe all this stuff.
    Now if you research a little on the other side you see the motives of both parties.
    (dem & rep)
    Democrats talk about color and sex all the time. All these topics to distract and separate us. GOP talks about actual policies and reform - they’ve always stayed the same. Dems stick their finger to the twitter wind. And they’ve become socialist because of it.
    I’m sad to say he supports their agenda to the T
    This is what he gets paid to do. To get into your perception. It’s so easy with comedy man

  • Jonathan Locke
    Jonathan Locke Day ago

    Would love to see a patented Oliver Rant(tm) about Lyme disease showing both sides of the medical and research controversy, but emphasizing how little funding there is for resolving these controversies. Even as tick-borne illness and Lyme disease explode into a global pandemic, expanding into Canada where it is forecasted in Climate change-related research to become highly endemic in all areas east of the Mississippi River, PTLDS remains one of the worst and longest running controversies in the history of medicine, having raged for more than 30 years. We owe it to the cumulative 70K to 2M patients suffering from long term health problems related to Lyme disease infection to provide the funding to resolve this issue.

  • Hurri
    Hurri Day ago

    So John, Jesus was as white as it gets after all. And take this with a pinch of salt.

  • Daniel Choi
    Daniel Choi Day ago

    John, please do a segment on "stem cell" centers that are manipulating desperate patients into paying thousands of dollars for treatments that don't work and actually harm patients. I saw these patients personally while in residency at the University of Miami hospital. It is absolutely shameless what they do.

    • Daniel Choi
      Daniel Choi Day ago

  • El-ahrairah
    El-ahrairah Day ago

    I don't want to be "one of those people" who seems like i am attempting to dispute Wanda's points. But i have not had a white doctor since like the mid 90s. I think they've all been Indian, maybe Pakistani.

  • plantgirl69
    plantgirl69 2 days ago

    This is so stupid because women are proven to tolerate pain better, so you'd think that if they're complaining about something it would be taken seriously

  • Anonymous Baros
    Anonymous Baros 2 days ago

    I believe everything. But you realize the transgender community contradicts a lot of this.

  • Angry Armenian
    Angry Armenian 2 days ago

    Doctors are mostly indian or asian.. they talk about white man is the doctor? a doctor is someone who goes to school and works hard to become a doctor regardless of the color of their skin. This is show is seriously full of bullshit.

  • Angry Armenian
    Angry Armenian 2 days ago

    what is he talking about? women get treated better for pain.

  • Ar Ziel
    Ar Ziel 2 days ago

    Wait a Minute John,what about: that many Americans have no medicare.
    I thing many People who need a Doctor but dont have whould give a fuck of race/gender bias🙊
    Because first Problem is to have a Doctor or medicine.
    The Secound is: Pay the fucking Medicare a abort for woman or not🤗
    So the Problem begins in America really early before crisis core for gender or race is open.
    Best regrads and good Show again.

  • Matilde
    Matilde 3 days ago

    Couple weeks ago , i went to see my doctor for a strain on my right shoulder. Silly me, i thought i was going to get X-rays or MRI or an muscle relaxer Rx....Ha! I was sent home with naproxen 500mg which did nothing at all.

  • phyzzx
    phyzzx 3 days ago +1

    OMG, I just love every time he rips business daddy, but this was especially amazing.

  • Logan Not the one from Marvel

    You must be a doctor...because you just saw the extent of my patience

  • K J
    K J 3 days ago

    I’m a disabled woman. After a surgery, I was pretty sure I was developing pneumonia, likely from intubation because my immune system sucks. It is a big concern after the type of surgery that I had. I had to go to the ER *3 times* before they’d do imaging on my chest, and I only got it because my dismissive male surgeon wasn’t there and I instead had a female ER doctor.
    Shocker, I had awful pneumonia, severe enough that I had to get IV antibiotics! They were seriously concerned for my safety. And the doctor told me that my surgeon or his nurses should have given me a spirometer (lung exerciser) to prevent the development of pneumonia, but they never even mentioned it, even after I came to the ER complaining of lung issues!
    Now, my husband comes to most of my appointments and I am always taken more seriously.

  • Thomas Korn
    Thomas Korn 3 days ago

    dear Mr. Oliver. Please just stop with the fear mongering and lies. You're worse than Glen Beck

  • PointingOutObvious
    PointingOutObvious 3 days ago

    Don't forget money bias. My $poor$ aunt was left in the hospital bleeding into a coma in the brain to death. Then hospital got the audacity to ask for her organs. My classmate got rupture vein in the head and she got a helicopter ride to a hospital with a surgeon waiting to save her, which he did.

  • T ZB
    T ZB 4 days ago +1

    "Pesky hormones" like testosterone! Oh, wait...

  • Terry Fulds
    Terry Fulds 4 days ago

    This is racist... not all black people are poor, and not all white people are rich...

  • Leonard M
    Leonard M 4 days ago

    White people keep telling black people. Nothing is wrong, we didn't do anything, we aren't doing anything to you.
    Black people keep telling the world. These white fucks won't leave me alone.
    The world keeps telling black people we are your enemy and we are trying to get rid of you.
    ..........Do you blame the some black people for the mindset they may have?
    Being Bi-racial. I really do see both sides of the fence.

  • chanchan524
    chanchan524 4 days ago

    Only the experienced doctors in the ER will order a full cardiac workup for women, as what he said is true. Their symptoms can be very subtle compared to men’s symptoms

  • Tim Beaton
    Tim Beaton 4 days ago

    "...I'll bet you clap on the One and Three..." Brilliant!

  • sai chand
    sai chand 4 days ago

    I am a doctor, and I agree with most of the things he says...... bias is real in most of the parts of u.s and serious steps should be taken to deal with that. However, it is true about people from different races having different biology.... it's not me saying that, its years and years of research and it is very important for a doctor to know these differences to give a better treatment.... but, I dnt think blacks have thick skin or bad nerve endings, that's just bad research.....

  • frank tartan
    frank tartan 4 days ago

    "Get more non white doctors" are you kidding me?

  • Jon Smith
    Jon Smith 4 days ago

    I only regret that I have but one like to give for my country!
    Wanda, thank you.

  • HerculeseFurball
    HerculeseFurball 4 days ago

    My sister died because of this. She went to the doctor because she wasn’t feeling well - dizzy, tired, body aches and the doctor told her she was probably coming down with a cold or the flu and gave her a prescription for antibiotics. Less than 24 hours later she was dead.
    She was having a heart attack.
    The doctor did No tests. No cultures. No other inquiries.
    Gave her a prescription and sent her on her way.

  • t Time
    t Time 5 days ago +20

    That poor husband. What a horrible thing to have to think about and question

  • Cassandra Brookover
    Cassandra Brookover 5 days ago

    And if you are fat. Basically unless you're a cis heterosexual white man.

  • putsome basilonit
    putsome basilonit 5 days ago

    Is it even slightly possible that the people that get the most dranatic over the littlest shit are less likely to be believed when dramatic over something actually serious? For devil's advocate's sake, work it from both ends - don't just keep thinking the other side than you are on in any scenario is 100% of the problem.

  • WillJM81280
    WillJM81280 5 days ago

    So you’re saying men and women are different? Be careful, you’ll stray into proving some of the alphabet people wrong. You’ll have to study those differences and emerge with facts. You can’t go around spewing scientifically proven facts nowadays, people will get offfended.

  • icarusfx
    icarusfx 5 days ago

    I’m a white man. I spent 5 years pleading with doctors about pain and numbness only to be told I was fine. The reality was that I had MS and it was slowly destroying my brain and spine.
    Some doctors just suck.

  • Matt The Pharaoh Wizard

    also there is an over weight bias. No matter what I go to the doctor for they blame my weight. I am just told to lose weight and that will fix everything.

    • Metaphysics
      Metaphysics Day ago

      Then stop complainin n lose weight you fatty 😑😐🤷

    • Thomas Korn
      Thomas Korn 3 days ago

      It's not bias; its fact. you are fat, lazy and retarded.
      Listen to your doctor.

  • Alex Wymore
    Alex Wymore 5 days ago

    I was thinking about this last month when I broke my foot. I went to the doctor, and they asked me how bad the pain was. It was swollen and looked painful, but it really didn't hurt that much, so I said a 3. They wouldn't believe me. They thought I was just trying to tough it out and insisted on giving me pain meds even though I didn't need them. Meanwhile, my mom fell down some stairs, tore something in her shoulder, and had to have surgery. When she said the pain meds weren't working and that she needed something stronger, the doctor treated her like a drug addict and wouldn't prescribe anything else even though she had no history of pain prescriptions.

  • FragDieAlex
    FragDieAlex 5 days ago

    You could also talk about bias against people with chronic illnesses, mental illnesses, disabilities or who are "simply" overweight... the list is way too long

  • GregoriusMagnus
    GregoriusMagnus 5 days ago

    So this episode, titled Medicine is about racism and chauvinism. Out of ideas and topics?

    • Thomas Korn
      Thomas Korn 3 days ago

      Mr Oliver started out with no ideas...and has been stuck ever since

  • Brian Hensley
    Brian Hensley 5 days ago

    I wasn't assigned my penis John.

  • basilmemories
    basilmemories 5 days ago

    A note on female-bodied heart attack symptoms, since I had one less than a month ago. First, It may feel like gas/acid reflux. Mine came because of diabetes (and because I couldn't afford the meds at the time), and so at first it felt like i was having a high blood sugar episode... which I was, but some of the symptoms overlap. So if you have the ol 'beetus or gastro issues, keep an eye out for other concerning symptoms. Next I had major TMJ, aka jaw pain and tightness. Thinking I just had some nasty internal fussery and jaw flareups, I figured that a restroom trip might help at least one of the problems. Not really, and the next major clue was the feeling of my upper arms being squeezed like I had two very upset pythons wrapped around them. At then I called the emt's juuust to be safe. The emt didn't notice a bad reading, but he also had known women that were showing little outward signs of pain (because they were used to dealing with pain), but were having cardiac issues, so he figured a trip in would also be the best. "probably nothing, but better safe than sorry, it's probably an anxiety attack though. Don't worry, we'll take care of you".

    That guy? Amazing. Hats off you and your team.

    Anyway YEP it sure was a heart attack, but there's the thing, heart attacks don't come in one size. You got your major "kill you right-a-fucking-way" heart attacks, and one of the other types you can have is a smaller artery trying to collapse on you, which is what I had. I was lucky, I knew that female-bodied individuals were different with heart attacks, and my case was minor enough that my screwing around and not calling the emt wasn't a fatal delay. I'm also lucky that I had doctors who listened and treated my 36-year old ass having these symptoms as a red flag, instead of something to dismiss. Either way, learn something from me: if you have any of those hot mess of symptoms, get up to a doctor and make sure it's nothing. if they refuse to check your blood for those elevated troponins, push hard for it. Be that annoying asshole that won't let up. Either they do the test and one of you'll be right, or they'll have to explain what they feel the problem is (in detail), or in the time it takes to argue, your symptoms will become bad enough that they'll have to take care of them.

    One note though, be firm, but polite. Being an asshole just gives them a mental excuse to dehumanize you more. being polite but resolute in your actions is key. Let them know that you value them as a professional, but that you have a concern about doctors being dismissive about the symptoms of marginalized groups. Mention the studies where doctors admitted that they treated overweight patients worse than patients with a standard BMI, or the other studies that show this unfortunate trend. Be sympathetic and say that you don't expect the doctor to fall into that problem, but it is a concern that you'd like put to rest. Either way? Thank them for listening, or thank them for addressing your concerns.

    And if they STILL won't treat your ass, politely ask for a copy of your chart and don't leave without it. Medical staff tend to put down friggin' everything in a case, just in case that matter needs to be reviewed, and it gives you (or next of kin, if they were wrong) answers about the choice they made.

  • G S.F
    G S.F 5 days ago

    I love this guy he is so Woke ! Like I always watch his videos 😌🙌🏼 I learn a lot !!

  • Derek Schnell
    Derek Schnell 6 days ago

    Hack, doctors don't care about vaginas or color. They care about money. Oliver is lamer every show!

    • GHOSTbirdnatureLOVER
      GHOSTbirdnatureLOVER Hour ago

      They’re talking about subconscious bias. Doctors aren’t slighting their patients on purpose...

  • luka leskovec
    luka leskovec 6 days ago +18

    dear mr. oliver. you made me watch the real housewives of nyc. it sucked. i hope youre happy.

  • Adrian Lopez
    Adrian Lopez 6 days ago

    I LOVE Wanda fucking Sykes!!

  • Jared Brandt
    Jared Brandt 6 days ago +1

    Ha, there are people out there who think white males get better care...bahahahahahaha!

  • Jack Landis
    Jack Landis 6 days ago +39

    Notice he said "sex AND gender bias". God bless you, John.

    • Montesama314
      Montesama314 4 hours ago

      @Thomas Korn You do know sex and gender are different, right?

    • Thomas Korn
      Thomas Korn 3 days ago +4

      wow.. I knew Oliver was mostlyi retarded..but that's full retard right there.

  • Benjamin Hill
    Benjamin Hill 6 days ago +1

    Another thing is queer bias. I have trans friends that are just treated like trash after the staff find out they aren’t cis.

  • Austin Oliver
    Austin Oliver 6 days ago +1

    I mean mistreatment is awful, but different races may very well have slight differences in their coagulation--at the very least in how common different coagulopathies are

  • parisa azami
    parisa azami 6 days ago

    It's Never Lupus!

  • TheMrFabian1
    TheMrFabian1 6 days ago

    Starting medical school next month. This came along just right.

  • xx mercedes swiftie xx

    as a black woman I have never had a issue with my family doctor (a white lady), my doctor I had when I was hospitalized when I had blood clots a few years ago (an Asian lady) was nice and the medical staff were also great. month ago went to the Er with what turned out to be mastitis,later diagnosed by the family dr, and the ER doctor I saw, an old white man, I wasn't sure if he really understood the seriousness of what I had, tho im not sure if that was medical bias or if he wasn't really all there, you know what I mean?

  • xx mercedes swiftie xx

    16:58 Michael Jackson's name was cleared and missy Elliot her self called it the Michael Jackson video vanguard award.