Doctor Reacts to John Oliver | Last Week Tonight: Bias in Medicine

Doctor Mike
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John Oliver discussed medical bias on his latest episode and you requested that I react to it. This episode is slightly different than most of my other reaction videos as I gave a watch before doing the reaction video in order to vet the research discussed on the program. If you'd like for me to cover this topic in more detail please do comment below.
Original Video: ruvid.net/video/video-TATSAHJKRd8.html
Diversity Video: ruvid.net/video/video-KWkF2N4BFRA.html
If you have an idea of something you want me to cover in-depth, please let me know because I take your requests seriously. We will be back with more Doctor Reacts Series, Memes, & Responding to Comments so please submit more names of shows/episodes & questions you'd like for me to watch. Love you all!
- Doctor Mike Varshavski
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** The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional professional **

Published on


Aug 22, 2019




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Comments 13 486
Lisa G
Lisa G 25 minutes ago
I wish doctors and the media would stop referring to the “American Healthcare System”. We don’t have a healthcare system. We have healthcare providers and hospital systems and insurance companies. This does not make a system because it does not provide coordinated care.
Liliana Isabel
sometimes I forget how hot he is just by how smart he is.
Emma Davenport
Emma Davenport 10 hours ago
I when to the ER 2 weeks ago because it was 6pm and the docters office was closed and I had a temp of 99.5 and had flu symptoms and when I get the flu I usually get pneumonia so I just wanted to make sure that I was okay to go back to work the following Monday and they told me I had allergies they gave me a holler Jean medication and the next morning I had to go back to the ER cuz I was literally coughing up my inside and they told me I had pneumonia I just thought that the doctors didn't study enough but my husband had heard them talk outside of the room that I look too young to know my own health I'm 21 yeas old and have had the flu 7 or 8 times because I grew up in a anti-vax family but as soon as I moved out I didn't know what kind of medications to take and I got my first flu shot and I must have gotten this one to late
xen1313 12 hours ago
Where is the Bias for Opioids coming from? That's easy, the misguided idea that black communities are filled with drug addicts and dealers, thanks to a racist war on drugs.
treasure wuji
treasure wuji 21 hour ago
There is another John Oliver you can react to.
Misha HJ
Misha HJ 23 hours ago
Sorry, colleague, you're talking like a modern man, not like a modern doctor. Ignoring the bias against women around the world and/or the USA it's being biased against them; and yes, you are being biased when you try to come up with an excuse to stay neutral. What a shame.
HITMAN Day ago
i am disappointed by how easily people get fooled by these liberals..
Joshua George
your are very professiona Doctor Mike.
Joshua George
there needs to private/public health care hybrid.there should goverment voucher for people low scoial economic background is america brooke close to bankrupcy.
Joshua George
is private health care better usa than goverment health care in usa ?.
Turtle Shell
Turtle Shell Day ago
So you just watched it and repeated what he said.
ben fuller
ben fuller Day ago
Normaly I have the upmost faith in our healthcare personnel but ice lost alot of faith in my local hospitals after taking my dad to one becuase his kidneys and liver function were dangerously low the kidney doctors came in and after the conversation we were assured they could get it back under control to a point well he also had a infection at his elbow so they had a doctor come and deal with that am I'm positive he never even looked at my dads chart becuase the first thing on it was kidney failure and liver dmg and he went ahead and but him on a antibiotic that is know to shred your kidneys and he passed away less then a week later I visited him everyday and everytime I asked a nurse how he was doing they said good good I asked he hed had a doctor visit him to check on him I was told no it was just very upsetting
Roy Batterham
Bias is not the same as discrimination. Bias can include systemic factors
emju119 Day ago
Many doctors are very biased towards wanting patients illness to be stress because it makes their job easier and they don’t need to work or dig further. They have an incentive for it and don’t even recognize their subconscious bias
emju119 Day ago
I was told I was hysterical even cuz I suggested I had c diff based on google and I was right even tho the doctor said there is no way I have it. Fast forward... I went to multiple doctors and was told I was stressed and anxious Etc etc turns out I had afib and a cyst in my spinal cord.
Nic C
Nic C Day ago
Hospital policy for the teaching college I was sent to in case of complications for pregnancy was basically my body my birth plan for my first and only born. Thankfully I had no problems, but the doctors were the worse part of being pregnant for the first and last time for me. I had an illness a few years before that left me with two choices, treatment or eventual death. Being pregnant and being told I have choices in how to give birth took a way some of the resentment I had from little to no choices before. if I wanted to have anymore children to how I wanted to give birth was ignored to the point that I finally broke down and cried before anyone would listen to me. It was a seasoned Male doctor that listened to me. The women from their words to body language screamed we are going to push to ignore your CHOICE. The longer this behavior went on the more my anxiety went up. No questions were asked why. I could see them listening with one ear and planning how to say in a polite way " This way is better, you don't know what is best for you"
why? Day ago
Doctor Mike is a great human being in general and we're here for it :)
Cleo Younce
Cleo Younce Day ago
Before being diagnosed with Endometriosis I was in and out of the ER and one of the times I had a doctor who saw I had been in 3 times already that week, decided without looking at my chart that it was all in my head and gave me a shot of Haldol. 1. He didn't tell my mom(was like 14 at the time) before giving it to me 2. I was on lithium at the time. You really aren't suppose to have the 2 together. I couldn't sleep for over 2 days, had a racing heart, jumpy and felt dizzy. Took 6 years before I found a doctor that would do the Robotic Laparoscopic surgery, at that point it was bad enough it had reached my left ovary.
Alexandria Beck
There is a good documentary on Netflix called "The Pharmacist" that details the perspective of a retired pharmacist and his experiences/bias in relation to the opioid epidemic; it's a must watch!!
Rose Blue
Rose Blue 2 days ago
How many times did you say 'lower quality hospitals'? So you're saying the bias is not necessarily due to gender or race, but to the patient's socio-economic status, bad attitude, suspicions of drug use etc. "You're not treated differently because you're a woman or because you're black; you're poor, you have crappy insurance or no insurance, the nearest hospital lacks funding, has insufficient and overworked staff and they're doing their best". Treating people differently because of x, y or z reason - it's still wrong. So while I understand what you were trying to say, you were discussing medical bias; so if race is brought up, finding other reasons for appalling behavior or errors is just what-about-ism. Maternal mortality got money for research into its causes? As in people are paid to write reports on how poor people die in greater numbers, but let's look into genetics, preventive care etc. John Oliver did a show on Medicare for All - he had a good joke about the American healthcare system - it's great for the rich, but too many Americans are born with a pre-existing condition of 'not being Beyonce'
Danielle Joseph
Danielle Joseph 2 days ago
I was subscribed to this channel but after watching some of your responses to these snippets - I had to unsubscribe! How could anyone, medical student or not just assume that Black people have “thicker skin” or are in some way created SO differently that your automatic presumption would be to treat them differently than you would yourself or anyone who looks like you? THAT is preposterous! And to have you defending this as a “mistake” is part of the problem. Yes, genetically - we as different “races” may have different pre-dispositions to certain ailments but to think that an MD is really having to consider whether he should give the same standard of care to someone based on their skin color... I can’t stand behind. It’s disheartening to hear that you would defend the misconception of an MD rather than ask yourself why that MD thought differently of someone with a darker skin tone in the first place! SMH!
Felix Ray
Felix Ray 2 days ago
As a fan of John Oliver, it's great to see someone add context and perspective without having an axe to grind.
ryan lerouche
ryan lerouche 2 days ago
so race is not a social construct.
ryan lerouche
ryan lerouche 2 days ago
a lot of men I know don't like going to the doctors
ryan lerouche
ryan lerouche 2 days ago
theirs a bias, I know for a fact the girls get more perscibtion drugs to sell on the street then the boys do.
James Jones
James Jones 2 days ago
14:51 "Black men in America are living almost as long as white men" I think that may be due to, in part, white men's lowered life span due to higher rates of suicide and drug overdose.
Steven Gordon
Steven Gordon 2 days ago
so the half usa/uk John Oliver.. multi emmy award winner comic did the work, built a team to work too.Thats why he is one of the most watched people on the planet.
A Dumbo Octopus
A Dumbo Octopus 3 days ago
Why can't you admit that this problem exists instead of fail to prove that it doesn't?
Thought Stricken
Thought Stricken 3 days ago
Would be good to see a study or conduct a study on the effects that illegitimate patients, ie; the drug seekers, the hypochondriac’s etc have on the diagnosis of legitimate patients. I am not a doctor but I imagine that it would become increasingly difficult to properly diagnose and treat a patient when I am having trouble discerning the genuine need from the non genuine need. At some point you would start taking a “one size fits all approach” to the detriment of more genuine patients. It’s a real no win situation.
Mike Mathieson
Mike Mathieson 3 days ago
Hmmm this is interesting, as a gay man I have encountered covert antagonism and negative attitudes from doctors when asking health questions, not exclusively but sometime pertaining to my specific health needs regarding my orientation. Now as an older gay man Im encountering agism as well as subversive anti gay sentiments. Its a bit disturbing as I get older to contemplate the possibility that I may need aged health care and that I may be denied that because of discrimination. Im in a rural city in Australia where there is a huge amount of covert homophobia that still occurs...and I recently read an article that agism in the Australian medical field is rife. I must say the future is looking a bit frightening.
Ena Fisek
Ena Fisek 3 days ago
“[Women] tend to present with atypical symptoms” - WHUUUT? Those symptoms are only “atypical” because symptoms in males are considered “typical.” Women have typical symptoms for WOMEN. 🤦‍♀️
shit lista
shit lista 3 days ago
How can you be sure you can trust your doctor and you are getting a quality care??
orlando 3 days ago
I'm a little concerned with how much you seem to be trying to excuse these issues as not "bias," like blaming women for not seeking treatment or presenting "atypically," instead of considering why women might be less inclined to go to the doctor or why normal symptoms in women are thought of as "atypical."
Terance Hore
Terance Hore 3 days ago
Who do you want to believe? A doctor? Or a comedian news reporter/presenter? Both show snippets of actual research, both show facts and data. One is experienced and knowledgeable of hospitals and one has and will continue to have an invested interest in this topic. I know who Ill believe.
Zachary Prezotti
Zachary Prezotti 3 days ago
I am a nurse and I remember in school (circa 2014) we had classes about cultural sensitivity which would talk about avoiding generalizations about groups of people, but then the next breath would be blanket statements about certain ethnic groups such as outrageous claims like “white patients tend to be more stoic where as black or latino patients are more likely to cry out in pain”. It was always troubling to me that a school that I otherwise thought to be very good would continue to perpetuate racist stereotypes.
Christopher Wentling
Even with all this women utilize medical services significantly more than men and in the end live longer than men. Maybe male under utilization of medical services should also be addressed?
Jasmine Amer
Jasmine Amer 4 days ago
I actually had a female doctor in the ER who was acting like I was making up how much I was in pain because I was about to start my period. However thankfully I had a male doctor there and he took it seriously. It ended up being a bladder infection.
Zeta X.
Zeta X. 4 days ago
I wish he’d talk more about the “biological differences between races” because that’s a pretty inflammatory statement. He went a lot into defending residents (who are practicing medicine on patients) and their mistakes even though this is affecting real people. Having biases about biological factors is not a harmless mistake and fails to address that doctors, just like other people, do have real biases that do affect their decisions and thoughts. Especially the part about mortality rates and Black women and going so far as to suggest “should we be looking at genetic factors?” There have been countless studies that show that racism and biases affect people today. It IS important to address systemic issues and to acknowledge that systemic racism is very real- to try and move the focus away from that racism or bias though is to move away from your and other privileged people’s responsibility to acknowledge very real biases and prejudices.
The Celtic Bros.
The Celtic Bros. 4 days ago
Haah this guy is actually one of the hottest doctors I've ever seen 😍
recklessmb 4 days ago
Never watched one of your videos before, but loved your analysis
Luya Wish
Luya Wish 4 days ago
I feel like he is shifting the blame
RaYd 4 days ago
Who else is just watching Dr.Mike's hand move
Hex 4 days ago
I'm just happy Dr. Mike can talk about this without going on the defensive.
Natasha Monk
Natasha Monk 4 days ago
From the time I was 9 years old I suffered horrible back pain. An x-ray apparently showed scoliosis. Parents called me a cry baby...no one would listen to to the pain I was in...fast forward to age 17. I woke up one morning and could not walk. Finally they listen. I have spondylosthesis(?). A disk has been warn away by a vertebrae literally sitting on the other one below it. Bone of both vertebrae is gone. If the the top vertebrae slipped off the other I would have been paralyzed and it had slipped 90% off the other...most of my life I had a "hole" in my spine...literally you could push your finger on the spot and loose half of it. I ended up having surgery...80% coming out paralyzed. 8 days paralyzed...had to learn to walk again. Goes to show they don't listen!!! They go to the quickest and easiest answer.
thatonegamergirl 11
I honestly feel like he is minimizing what is going on in healthcare here. Especially with the maternal fatality stat. Who cares if it is because of better reporting... it's still the highest of any developed nation. England has about the same rate of obesity as the US and women are having children later in life over there too... I get that he wants to think the best of his profession but there comes a time when you have to realize what is actually going on and take off the rose colored glasses.
Aeryn Cowell
Aeryn Cowell 5 days ago
Oliver is also a professional liar and commonly misframe's subject's to carry the narrative. ANYONE who trusts this grifter is to be pittied.
Charlotte Innoecent
And if they have changed the death certificate to better ascertain if someone who has passed was pregnant or recently pregnant, then what we have is a poor maternal mortality rate FOR A MUCH LONGER PERIOD OF TIME. I believe it is an economic issue related to health insurance and under insurance. And it began in the 1980's, and is steadily getting worse. And yes, it predates 2003!
So what I'm gathering, is that the level of bias is less due to bias and more due to differences in communication between direct types of people. And I appreciate the good doctor here for trying to look at this objectively. Good on him.
Charlotte Innoecent
Although these studies don't deliberately state a reason for these facts, me and other women can tell you this: DOCTORS ALWAYS SEEM TO BELIEVE WE ARE EXAGGERATING PAIN. They are far more likely to think we just need a normal over the counter pain relief, where as men are taken more seriously, hence they are more likely to get serious pain relief. I have five sisters and three brothers. I know that is not the same as a conclusive study, but it feels frustrating that people will continue to overlook what we find constantly happening until someone does do a study and until then it won't be believed!
Space Otter
Space Otter 5 days ago
I call BS. It took 15 years for a doctor to zero in on hemochromatosis as my problem. Multiple doctors said to me, in so many words, the pain and such I was experiencing was caused by depression. Well they were wrong. I'm a 46 year old white male.
Heather Woods
Heather Woods 5 days ago
This was awesome and educational! I just wish he would also have covered ageism and medical bias as well. My heart condition went undiagnosed for so long bc "you're too young to have heart issues" and this is so common 😒
David B
David B 5 days ago
The problem here is the fact some people jump from a personal story of poor quality medical care to, it must be because I'm a women... or I'm black! Etc. Then the leftist virtue signalling media like John Oliver jump on it to push their sex and race baiting message! As you have shown, John Oliver pointed out numbers from the studies which fit his narrative and ignores all the real reasons that go againt that narrative and ignores the fact the discrepancies are closing!
Jordan Holleman
Jordan Holleman 5 days ago
"we're not robots" AI have to learn from something, and the best medical knowledge is from humans. Humans are based, so the AIs learn that bias. Robots don't always know the right answer.
Eli Holmes
Eli Holmes 5 days ago
I have a phd in psychology. Having been in multiple medical setting, it is fact are not trained in psychological biases! I have witness it happen numerous times, having point out and educate medical doctors on the biases they are exhibiting! My speciality was in diagnostic reasoning so saw it every time I was around physicians. Furthermore, physicians don't to refer to psych because they can give medication. It can ruin lives. My ex gf worked in insurance where a women called in at 40 being rejected for life insurance. My gf investigated and out she diagnosed with a an anxiety disorders years earlier because of anxiety and 3 boys. Only took the medication for about a month because of the husband gone. This clearly a family therapy issue. Yet do coding she anxiety dx, and can't get life insurance!!!!
Corey Webster
Corey Webster 5 days ago
The intellectual dark web now has a medical doctor.
epiccollision 5 days ago
Dear google I accidentally watched one of dr mikes video, I don’t need 25 more in my recommended, I’m good thanx, great videos dr Mike Google seems to love you. Also when I clicked on that coffee machine review I was not interested in all the videos about coffee, just that one video I already watched, you’re really not good at this, do you need help?
Sean Su
Sean Su 5 days ago
I'd love to hear your thoughts on medicare for all, and the potential it has for reducing some of these biases.
Ithaca Comments
Ithaca Comments 5 days ago
As a woman, I select a female practitioner over a male practitioner because....women practitioners, for the most part, listen when I talk. I also like to support a woman in her medical career. If I have a choice....I choose an osteopathic practitioner.
Karen C
Karen C 6 days ago
Can I just say...I appreciate Dr. Mike actually taking the time to read the mentioned studies and give a more objective view. I’m a huge fan of John Oliver, but this particular episode was hugely (and ironically) biased against doctors and didn’t seem to take into consideration the environment and conditions they work that lead to these disparities between gender and race. As a pharmacist, I see it all the time. The same doctor at an ER working during my shift can write for the same UTI antibiotic and tramadol every 4 hours #30 for a white patient but every 12 hours #6 for a black patient. Obviously, idk how severe the UTI is unless I ask the patient or they volunteer that info, but it’s still an interesting thing to notice. But I agree that as healthcare workers become more aware of these biases, the better we’ll get at identifying them and learning how to treat more objectively despite them. Excellent video!!
Lawrence Brookman
A med student asked his professor, "What if my beliefs make me uncomfortable treating a God fearing straight white guy that voted for Trump?" The professor replied, "Find a different career." We need professors like this.
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