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Season 2 Episode 31: The Blame Game

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

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The Blame Game


This week, Alex and Mary discuss the harmful effects of patient blaming, when a medical professional, friends, family, or self-help authors infer, suggest, or outright say something akin to, “If you had a better attitude, you could beat cancer” or “Maybe if you had lost weight, you wouldn’t have gotten diabetes” or “You should have gone to the doctor sooner, before you got cancer.” Their discussion was inspired by Kate Bowler’s journey through colon cancer, after having been diagnosed at the age of 35. Why does patient blaming exist and what can we do about it?


Episode Highlights

  • Welcome back! [0:40]

  • Please subscribe, rate, review, and follow us! [1:10]

  • Patient Blaming [2:28]

  • Kate Bowler [2:54]

  • The Today Show [3:10]

  • Self-help books that blame [4:30]

  • Toxic positivity [7:30]

  • It’s ok not to be ok [8:18]

  • A doctor’s genuine apology [9:05]

  • TX Heart Institute Journal [10:55]

  • Peabody’s Corner [11:10]

  • Francis Weld Peabody [11:15]

  • Patient Care [11:25]

  • Cardiac Consult [13:23]

  • Digoxin [14:03]

  • Placebo effect [16:02]

  • Emphasis is on disease rather than patient [18:09]

  • Obesity [18:58]

  • Lung cancer bias [19:55]

  • Shame and blame [20:22]

  • Character defect [21:55]

  • Non-compliant [22:16]

  • Physician bias ]22:50]

  • Where do you draw the line? [23:26]

  • Disparity in funding [24:08]

  • Relationship between behavior and disease [25:02]

  • Medical malpractice and patient blame [26:08]

  • Grey’s Anatomy [28:20]

  • Importance of healthy lifestyle [29:10]

  • Patients should get best care [30:35]

  • Valuable lessons to be learned [31:45]

  • Update on Kate Bowler [32:45]

  • Thanks for listening! [33:15]

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Links Mentioned in the Episode

When All Else Fails, Blaming the Patient Often Comes Next (Published 2008)

Blaming the Patient: A Common Defense Tactic

Today Show - Kate Bowler

Perspective | What happens when the doctor blames you for your own cancer?

Flying Blind: Why Do We Keep Blaming The Victims Of Medical Errors?

"Everything happens for a reason" -- and other lies I've loved | Kate Bowler

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3233310/pdf/20111200s00004p620.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3233310/pdf/20111200s00004p620.pdf



Summary Keywords

Podcast, Spotify, Anchor, research, advocacy, advanced imaging, diagnosis, knowledge, women, fear, symptoms, patient blaming, medical malpractice, toxic positivity, Kate Bowler, behavior bias, lung cancer, patient care



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