Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery

Doing Harm

In this shocking, hard-hitting expose in the tradition of Naomi Klein and Barbara Ehrenreich, the editorial director of, reveals how gender bias infects every level of medicine and healthcare today—leading to inadequate, inappropriate, and even dangerous treatment that threatens women’s lives and well-being.Maya Dusenbery brings together scientific and sociological research, interviews with experts within and outside the medic...

Details Doing Harm

TitleDoing Harm
Release DateMar 6th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Feminism, Health, Science, Medical, Medicine

Reviews Doing Harm

  • Mickey
    I want to take this book to my next doctor's appointment, smack him upside the head with it, and then stand there and read the whole damn thing out loud to him! It was infuriating and maddening to read, but it helped me to feel better that I'm not the only woman who is fighting the medical system for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Alex Linschoten
    Important and timely. Dusenbery has hit the nail on the head with this book. I highlighted so many passages. She reveals how -- at almost every turn -- women are rendered dismissed, ignored and invisible by the medical system.
  • ❤
    I hate to say it, but I found this book pretty repetitive in a lot of spots. Each section, regardless of what part of history or which medical issue was being discussed, felt like I was re-reading entire paragraphs at some point because so much was constantly being reiterated in the same way. Because of that, I also didn't find the writing to be entirely engaging as I expected such a topic to be for me. In fact, it was rather dry. In this case, t...
  • Alyssa Foll
    This was an eye-opening read about how poorly women are treated in the medical system. Maya Dusenbery examines multiple factors for why medicine tends to be sexist and paternalistic in its care of women, but she also shares countless stories of women who advocated for themselves and for the healthcare they deserved. I can't say that this is a "pop" science read-- there was an impressive amount of data, acronyms, and medical jargon. However, it is...
  • Wendy
    "Women's symptoms are not taken seriously because medicine doesn't know as much about their bodies and health problems. And medicine doesn't know as much about their bodies and health problems because it doesn't take their symptoms seriously."If you are a woman, have a body and go to the doctor, read this book. You will recognise your experience in these pages. You will get enraged. And you will be joined by many other women.As a sufferer of CFS,...
  • Melissa
    A deep dive into decades-long practices in science and medicine that disadvantage women from the word go. Bad science, prejudicial and paternalistic attitudes by physicians and other care providers, and a persistent belief that women’s self-reported symptoms are not to be trusted. Dusenbery gets into the actual published science behind all the bad science/medicine and how the tides are slowly beginning to turn. Book 2 of the three-Book trifecta...
  • Melissa
    Forthcoming. If you’re going into/already in science or medicine OR if you support feminism (hopefully everyone), this book is an important siren call for bias awareness.
  • Marianne K
    A repetitive look at gender-bias in the doctor/ patient relationship. Having experienced this firsthand, I certainly agreed with the premise. I almost bailed in the introduction as the author had so many liberal views that I do not subscribe to, "... nature is a lot more diverse than the two categories [gender] we try to impose on it", uh, no, sorry. Here's another gag-inducing gem, "I won't be discussing routine reproductive health care in this ...
  • DW
    Much of the book focuses on anecdotes of doctors dismissing womens' symptoms simply because the patients are women. "Before [the twentieth century], doctors had no choice but to take patients at their word about what they were experiencing in their bodies." p 69 However, "I spoke to a depressing number of women with a range of conditions who attested to the power of a male relative - whether a partner, a father, or even a son - to help ensure the...
  • Pam
    Important and heartbreaking. The lengths to which a woman must advocate for her own care is ridiculous. Every health provider needs to read this book, even if they think they treat all patients the same (because guess what - they probably don’t).
  • Kira Brighton
    As a woman with multiple female-dominant medical conditions (most of which were discussed in this book), I'm thrilled this book exists. It's vital that we have this modern examination of sexism in the medical industry. Some of what's in this book I already knew, from prior research and personal experience, but I still found it to be stunning and educational.I personally related most to chapters 2, 5, and 7, and to some degree, 6. (If you're inter...
  • Maya
    "When it comes to 'active' life expectancy - the number of years living free from significant limitations that prevent you from doing everyday tasks - men have overtaken women in the past three decades. Women still live longer, but men live better longer." (20)"The medical community has viewed women's health with a bikini approach, focusing essentially on the breast and reproductive system." - Dr. Nanette Wenger (27)1 in 3 deaths in women is due ...
  • Carolyn
    Wow! Everyone should read this book - well researched, important, and shocking.
  • Linda
    The author discusses how women’s health concerns, especially illnesses which primarily affect females, such as CFS, POTS, and fibromyalgia, are often dismissed as psychosomatic. Better medical education and research directed towards many of these illnesses would help, but our society does not prioritize them. It’s depressing that women’s concerns are so frequently marginalized, and that multiple doctor visits are often required for the pati...
  • Terri Ehrlich
    Wow! Every woman should read this book. This author has done her homework, and recounts the discrimination and negligence on the part of both medical researchers and practitioners when it comes to illnesses that affect mostly women. Although parts of this book made me downright angry, it was a fascinating read. Ms. Dusenbery also gives women the tools to counteract this phenomenon in order that future generations of women won’t fall under the ...
  • anaïs
    important and timely. should be read by all medical professionals.
  • Busy
    "Listen to women. Trust us when we say we're sick. Start there, and you'll find we have a lot of knowledge to share."Good book. Although I have been VERY fortunate (and highly selective) in my mid twenties and later to have NPs and doctors who respect and believe me, I still suffered for years before I got proactive and picky from bad diagnoses and from my doctors just not being familiar with what I had, or by them not listening to me. The prime ...
  • Coral Rose
    Good book, lots of facts and studies. This book was so depressingly true. Lots of facts and studies, and really highlighted for me some of the reasons that my husband and I approach care providers differently.When I was 6 months pregnant with Miles, I asked for a referral to endocrinology, because my TSH (thyroid hormone) was behaving irregularly (as it always has, since high school) and despite reassuring my midwives that I felt amazing for the ...
  • (a)lyss(a)
    "It's very difficult for a woman to present in a doctor's office. Because if she's very stoic - if she talks about the problem in the tone that I'm talking to you - then the doctor's going to think 'Oh, there's nothing really wrong with her' And then if she gets very emotional, he's going to blame it on 'Oh, she's a phychological mess blah blah blah.'"This book should be a must read for everyone.This book does a great job in breaking down some of...
  • Sandy Reilly
    Maya Dusenbery has pulled back the curtain and opened readers' eyes to what it's like to be a woman with an illness. Often ignored, labeled "hysterical" or a hypochondriac, and told we're not as sick as we think we are, many women walk into their doctors' offices with the odds stacked against them. Dusenbery explains the issues women face each time they go to see a medical professional, arguing her case with compelling evidence including statisti...
  • Susan Bazzett-Griffith
    The most thorough, well-researched and informatively infuriating book I've read this year, Doing Harm is a comprehensive wake up call to the medical profession regarding its historical and present-day gender bias that is inherently harmful to women physically, legally, and emotionally. I was enraptured, enraged and completely consumed while reading this book. Dusenbery talks about the dismissal of women patients' symptoms as "hysteria" or "depres...
  • Kathleen O'Neal
    This was the most accurate portrayal of what it is like to be a young woman trying to get help in the American medical system that I have ever come across in any sort of media. What I loved about this book was that the author is hip to the reality that self-diagnosis and internet research are not signs of a "bad patient" as we have all been led to believe but instead it is the hallmark of an empowered patient who may have to diagnose herself to g...
  • Kitty Galore
    The MeToo movement has highlighted sexist practices in America today. Thoughts about this is that women knew about it long before the press got hold of it. In general why do women allow these things to happen in the first place? What have we been thinking over the Millenia? Were we thinking at all in allowing men to gain the upper hand? At any rate, this book is an extension of the unfair and biased treatment women have received in this country. ...
  • Tara
    Wow. Everyone who has a uterus or loves someone who does should read this book. So, pretty much everybody should read this book. Knowledge is power, folks. ;o)It's a revealing and discouraging read, but also one that implores women to listen to their bodies and trust themselves. Be persistent and don't just accept that something is all "in your head." Yes, our bodies and minds are connected, but listening to your intuition could save your life.I ...
  • Susana Machado
    "Our intersecting identities may make the particular stereotypes that hurt us different - in some cases, even diametrically opposed - and yet somehow we so often end up in a similar place: fighting to have our reports of our own symptoms trusted and taken seriously"This was a well-researched book that clearly lays out a huge problem with medicine: a glaring gender bias. I knew this existed, as sexism reaches every part of society, but I had no id...
  • Angie Drake
    Important information that needs to be read by the medical communityI wish so could say that the information in this book surprised me but, for the most part, I felt like I was reading my own experience over and over again. The author did a good job tying research to personal stories. However, I found myself frustrated by the drawn out explanations in between the pieces and parts of personal anecdotes. In many respects, it felt like the author ne...
  • Lori Gibbany
    Thought I would never finish this one. I couldn't read it straight from start to finish I had to take breaks. This book was emotional for me as I have personal knowledge of what the book says. I have renewed hope that someday things will be better. Greatest words of this book is when it said....we should not have to educate ourselves when going to the Dr. Doctors are taught for many years, paid well have incentives to continue learning. We should...
  • Heidi
    This is a good book that contains a lot of well-researched truth. The studies the authors cites are well documented - and there are a lot of them. Like a lot of non-fiction books, I think it could have been shorter. The author did repeat herself and her points quite a bit. That being said, it was easy to read and mad e a lot of good points. One issue is that it didn't seem to be directed at people in the medical field, although that seemed to be ...
  • Jackie
    An important book with lots of good information. This past year I have heard so many stories from women, and a few men, about how they are not listened to and later find out that they had serious issues which were ignored by at least one doctor (usually several). Over and over again, as this book notes, listening to patients is key. Most importantly, medical providers need to think "But what if the patient is right?" Merely asking that and listen...
  • Ivy
    This book had some very interesting information. It did get redundant. In some ways it read like a feminist rant. I don't believe that this was the intention, but it was the result. Certainly there needs to be equal access and research for women's health issues, but let's get off the high horse and take the high road instead.