Women’s Health is Put on Hold
Amelie Doying, contributor
One dreary Monday morning, I woke up with an aching sore throat and chills. Barely able to get out of bed, I dragged myself to class hoping that my symptoms would subside throughout the day. While I was sitting through History, I realized that if I didn’t take the time to take myself to the doctor, I would only get worse. Begrudgingly, I called the People’s Center to make an appointment. I’d been going there since I was a kid, and had always had a relatively good experience, at least for the doctor’s office.
This time it was different. After I saw the doctor and was prescribed antibiotics for strep throat, I called the clinic to see when they would send my prescription to the pharmacy. They told me I would have to call back the following morning because the doctor saw a large volume of patients that day and didn’t get a chance to fill the prescription. Frustrated, I hung up and called the next morning. This time, they put me on hold for thirty minutes and then said that I would have to call back in the afternoon because the doctor was held up in a meeting. By now, my symptoms were getting increasingly worse and I needed antibiotics to be able to recover so I could be present in class and keep up on my work. As I tried to communicate this to the receptionist, she told me that the clinic was very busy and that my prescription would be filled by the end of the night. The next morning, my prescription still hadn’t been filled.
My boyfriend, who has experience as a medical scribe, called the clinic and asked to speak to a nurse immediately. His tone was clear and direct. After a brief hold, he was able to speak to a nurse within a few minutes. I had been trying for days. I began to realize the ways in which men are often prioritized in spaces such as the medical field. Women’s needs are often overlooked due to deeply entrenched misogyny that runs rampant in institutions such as the health care industry.
Even though the People’s Center is designed to provide quality care to all in the community, the capitalist agenda of the health care industry makes it so marginalized people have to fight in order to receive prompt and adequate care. Those in power within the industry continue to perpetuate the notion that those with lower socioeconomic status are of less value in society, and therefore do not deserve to be cared for because their medical conditions are often blamed on them as individuals, opposed to being blamed as a fault of the system at large. The structure and function of the healthcare industry reflects deep seated inequalities which expose how the American healthcare system values profit over human lives, a thread that is common in American history.
Reflecting on my experience, I think of those who are not as fortunate as me, and that are facing medical issues far more dire than strep throat. What could happen to them if they weren’t able to get their prescription immediately? How can we advocate for accommodating health care for all, and ensure that even the quietest voices are heard, honored and cared for?