Genesa Greening, CEO of BC Women’s Health Foundation in Vancouver for the release of a research report titled ‘In Her Words: Women’s experience with the healthcare system in BC’ on Oct. 9, 2019. (Black Press Media photo)

WOMEN’S HEALTH

‘I felt dismissed’: Report finds gender gap within B.C.’s healthcare system

New report sheds dire light on women’s experiences with B.C.’s healthcare system

A new report is painting a dire picture of women’s access to B.C.’s medical system in which many say they had doctors overlook their symptoms, have faced challenges seeking a specific kind of healthcare and have been stigmatized.

The research findings, released Wednesday by the BC Women’s Health Foundation and Pacific Blue Cross, is offering a first-of-its-kind look into what the foundation is calling a gender gap in Canada’s healthcare system.

Findings based on consultation with women of all ages and race across the province include that roughly one-in-three don’t feel that their health needs are being met and just over half said that a physician had diminished or overlooked their symptoms at least once.

“It took me three years to receive a Lyme Disease diagnosis,” one woman told the foundation. “I was misdiagnosed by my doctor, and then dismissed by seven doctors after that, each only recommending anti-anxiety medication. But I knew deep down something was seriously wrong.”

READ MORE: B.C. women are financially stretched, alarmingly stressed: survey

Three-in-ten women reported challenges accessing healthcare that they needed within the last year. That stat rose to three quarters – or 83 per cent – of Indigenous women ages 16 to 24 reported barriers accessing care they needed.

More immigrant and Indigenous women also reported facing barriers and stigma by doctors in B.C. than other women, the report found.

“I have re-occurring pancreatis,” one woman said. “They stigmatized me as an alcoholic, but I don’t drink. I was hospitalized, my levels went up while I was in the hospital and then they apologized for accusing me of drinking. But I have tattoos, and they judge you, and that stigma follows you.”

READ MORE: Health care key to prevent women from returning to prison: UBC study

Genesa Greening, the women’s foundation CEO, said the inequitable level of care women face comes despite women making up half of the population and living four years longer than men.

Greening told a room of foundation members and the public that healthcare research on diseases has historically been based on male anatomy, despite an acknowledgment that female biology is so different. That means that the male body became the baseline for preventable illnesses.

“Both biology and social factors need to be considered,” she said, adding that it is pretty easy to see that uniformed healthcare system will cause inequalities.

More to come.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s MindRight brings more mental health resources with HeadCheck Health partnership

Myles Mattila’s MindRight for Athletes Society provides peer-to-peer resouces for Okanagan athletes

Hundreds at Big White are still without water

On Monday a water main rupture at Big White Resort left hundreds without access to showers, dishwashers and tap water

WATCH: Eyewitness captures moment truck slams into Tim Hortons in Kelowna

A pickup truck crashed into the front a Tim Hortons in Rutland causing a small fire on Monday night

Warriors’ Head returns to West Kelowna

Wyatt Head spent the first part of the season in the NCAA

Eastbound lanes of Harvey Avenue closed after car crash

A mini-van and a car collided at the intersection of Dilworth and Harvey Avenue.

Kelowna Salvation Army sees increase in toy, cash donations

The Tiny Tim Charity Toy Breakfast started its 19th year Thursday morning

Time to celebrate Christmas Cowboy Style with Double Stop Creek & Friends in Penticton

The B.C.-based country band will be joined by additional musicians at Penticton’s Elk’s Lodge

Strata rental bans escape B.C. speculation tax through 2021, Carole James says

Vacant home tax won’t apply to cabins accessible only by water

South Okanagan elderly accident victim ‘a tough customer’

Penticton Fire Department crews rescue elderly man who rolled his ATV down an embankment

Morning Start: How many people live on earth?

Your morning start for December 10, 2019.

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Most Read