When Lili A. Lustig became a caregiver for her mother who was suffering from scleroderma, she still had a very long road ahead on the path to becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Even so, Lustig knew enough from her mom’s health history to tell the doctors that they wouldn’t be able to draw blood from her mother’s weakened vascular system without using a central line, a port or a PIC line.
When she pleaded with the doctors, they said they had to follow hospital protocols before they could employ one of these techniques.
“Even today, years later, I still grieve for her loss, not just because of the care she received, but because of the devastating medical condition she had. However, long before I thought I had the ability, the mental strength, or educational ability to get to medical school I had enough experience as a care provider for my mom that I knew that the doctors needed to listen to me and my family members. I did not get that from the physicians who saw her,” said Lustig.
Lustig is not the only woman who feels that health care providers could do more to meet their health care needs and those of their loved ones.
A recent study from the Center for Talent Innovation, conducted in conjunction with Grey Healthcare Group in New York City, found that 59 percent of women make health care decisions for others — a percentage that grows to 94 percent when you consider working mothers.
Yet a follow-up study by GHG found that women’s needs are very often left unmet by almost every key health stakeholder, including physicians and pharmacists.
In fact, when women were queried about whether their primary care doctors ask and listen to women’s questions and concerns, just 56 percent of women agreed, while 89 percent of those physicians believed that they do exhibit this behavior.
What’s more, although 87 percent of these doctors believed their patients trust them, only 69 percent of patients said they trusted their primary care physician “a lot” or “completely.”
The Health Care Industry Needs to Start Taking Women Seriously. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
Dr. Lili A. Lustig. Interview.