Doing Harm: The Truth about How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick

Written by:
Maya Dusenbery
Narrated by:
Dara Rosenberg

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2018
13 hours 35 minutes
In this shocking, hard-hitting exposé in the tradition of Naomi Klein and Barbara Ehrenreich, the editorial director of, reveals how inadequate, inappropriate, and even dangerous treatment threatens women’s lives and well-being.

Editor of the award-winning site, Maya Dusenbery brings together scientific and sociological research, interviews with experts within and outside the medical establishment, and personal stories from women across the country to provide the first comprehensive, accessible look at how sexism in medicine harms women today.

Dusenbery reveals how conditions that disproportionately affect women, such as autoimmune diseases, chronic pain conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease, are neglected and woefully under-researched. “Contested” diseases, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, that are 70 to 80 percent female-dominated are so poorly understood that they have not yet been fully accepted as “real” conditions by the whole of the profession. Meanwhile, despite a wealth of evidence showing the impact of biological difference between the sexes in everything from drug responses to symptoms to risk factors for various diseases—even the symptoms of a heart attack—medicine continues to take a one-size-fits-all approach: that of a 155-pound white man.

In addition, women are negatively impacted by the biases and stereotypes that dismiss them as “chronic complainers,” leading to long delays—often years long—to get diagnosed. The consequences are catastrophic. Offering a clear-eyed explanation of the root causes of this insidious and entrenched bias and laying out its effects, Doing Harm will change the way we look at health care for women.
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Benjamin V.

Dusenbery does a great job deconstructing the history of our and the politics and sexist norms that pervade healthcare systems around the country and the world. This books covers all of its bases and refutes many of the arguments made regarding women in the healthcare/biomedical setting. This book also shows how much progress has been made, as well as the numerous areas where progress is lagging and lacking, and posits solutions as to how healthcare providers and caregivers can listen to women and treat their problems effectively.

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Too long. Essentially it’s 14 hours of her saying “listen to women! Believe women!” While I tend to agree with her, it was repetitive and not what I expected in the least. I expected more discussion of current research in sex/gender differences in medicine rather than a lengthy diatribe about contested diseases, some of which she listed are not contested at all.

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