WOMEN AND DOCTORS by John M. Smith

WOMEN AND DOCTORS

A Physician's Explosive Account of Women's Medical Treatment--and Mistreatment--in America Today

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Why men have no business being gynecologists--or so the author says--and what women can do to get proper health care. Smith, himself a gynecologist, draws on his own experiences in asserting that men are too often sexist and bring to the doctor-patient relationship their prejudices against women and their need to dominate. Smith finds, in fact, that ``insensitivity, greed, and the arrogance of power'' are commonplace among physicians in general. In his attempt to call attention to the situation and to empower women to deal with it, Smith offers some memorable one-liners: ``If you send a sexist to medical school, you can only wind up with a sexist doctor''; ``The more times a woman consults a gynecologist, the more likely she is to experience abuse.'' He describes the major problems created by such gender bias and relates stories of individual patients who have come to harm at the hands of gynecologists-- some well intentioned, others simply incompetent. Moving on, Smith reveals how physicians are trained, licensed, and given hospital privileges, and offers advice on how to select the right health-care provider (not necessarily an M.D.) and how to develop a good relationship with that person. He also includes a valuable handbook on common gynecological problems, aimed at helping women understand afflictions, and ask the important questions--i.e., to participate intelligently in decision-making about their own medical treatment. Finally, Smith, who sees the attitudes and behaviors of physicians as central to the problems of our health- care system, offers his own ideas about restructuring health care in the US. A provocative and forceful call for change, certain to enrage male gynecologists while empowering their patients.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1992
ISBN: 0-87113-523-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992