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

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, August 21, 2019
  • 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.

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    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 **
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  • Jai Parwani

    Jai Parwani

     4 hours ago

    When 85% of residents are of same gender(female), how are they a diverse group

  • Tera Banks

    Tera Banks

     7 hours ago

    Let's face it. your care is as good as your insurance.

  • Kasey Richardson

    Kasey Richardson

     13 hours ago

    I hope no POC goes to this "doctor" for major medical issues. Especially women of color. There is literally an epidemic going on right now with an alarming high rate of WOC dying after childbirth because doctors like him blow their pain and concerns off, thinking that they have a different genetic makeup of whites. Know who also thought this? HITLER. This wanna be attention seeking fake GQ model should have his license revoked.

  • Madison Myers

    Madison Myers

     14 hours ago

    Doctors need to chill on the over perscribing of opioids and this country needs an accessible healthcare system. It needs to stop putting so much money into the military and instead put it into making healthcare accessible and free or at the very least affordable for everyone. Healthcare shouldn't be a luxury. To put it simply U.S. would you please stop putting money into ending people's lives and instead put it into saving them.

  • ThePaintedLady


     16 hours ago

    Thanks for covering this issue. There are absolutely a tendency within medicine to be disimissive of women's health concerns and to assume symptoms are 'all in your head' or just an expression of stress, anxiety or emotional imbalance. Women are far more likely than men to be put on psych meds for conditions like anxiety and depression, when that may not be what's actually causing their symptoms or struggles. Apparently more than 40% of women who go on to be diagnosed with autoimmune disorders are initially told that they are hypochondriacs. Which is completely shocking and unacceptable that this seems to be the status quo. Here's the study on that: And look no further than Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, for perhaps the best example of medical bias. This condition disproportionately affects women, with a disease burden similar to HIV/AIDS. Research has been chronically underfunded for decades, receiving just pennies per patient, compared to other major chronic health conditions and a big part of this is due to the fact that it's largely a women's condition. Even now, women presenting with symptoms of CFS are routinely ignored, dismissed or assumed to be suffering from some type of female hysteria, hypochondria and/or mental illness. Just have a look at Jennifer Brea's TED Talk on this subject for further insight.

  • Alab


     17 hours ago

    doctor mike is becoming a leftist.

  • Laura Freise

    Laura Freise

     20 hours ago

    I really appreciate Dr. Mike’s attention to the issue of casual inference. He’s right, correlation does not equal causation.

    But ALSO, it should be recognized that the “gold standard” of research- a randomized controlled trial, is NOT possible when your main variable of interest is gender or race. The fact of the matter is that you cannot randomly assign people into a gender or race condition, so the best we can do is make sure that these quasi-experiments use sound methodology otherwise. Remember to always criticize research for what it is, not what it is not.

  • Sandra Llewellyn

    Sandra Llewellyn


    Research the history of gynecology... this country and the medical profession have a history of not believing black people feel pain that goes all the way back to slavery.

  • Raven Star

    Raven Star


    Human bias is deadly

  • tangysarazin



    I get where you are coming from when explaining that the reason why there is higher black mortality is because black people inherently have lower quality hospitals. But isn’t the fact that predominantly black communities have lower quality health institutions in and of itself already discriminatory and racist. Like you are trying to explain the racism away with saying “well they typically only have access to lower quality hospitals” but that in and of itself is racist. Why isn’t the medical community making sure every institution is of quality not only the ones in the white communities. Its institutionalized racism. Thats all you can explain it with. Love your videos but trying to say there is no discrimination because they only have access to bad healthcare its contradictory.

  • cheesecake106



    Dr Mike, you're in a position of privilege in many ways, so cool it with a lot of the defensiveness. If you're going to defend these supposedly real biological differences in a race (a social construct), you at least could have addressed what happens when med students believe black people physically feel less pain than white people. It's not about if you agree or disagree.

  • Angel Rachael

    Angel Rachael


    please stop getting defensive, this is an international issue, My grandmother was turned away while having a stroke, now she's paralised down one side of her body. My friend had a history of cysts and was dismissed as over-reacting. Coming from Ireland, it's a huge structural issue, the research needs to change, then the teachers need to change, then the doctors, it' going to take a while

  • Melissa Lucero

    Melissa Lucero


    Ok Dr. Mike you are definitely adorable and I enjoy watching a lot of your videos. I do feel the need to point out that disparities if they exist as you say in care between men and women is a seriously rose colored glasses and maybe male perspective. These sex and race discriminations have always been there and we have yet to get to a place of equality between white men and anyone else especially in healthcare. I postulate that the reason for the difference between the male/female opioid medications vs. non opioid analgesic treatment has a lot to do with the opioid addiction crisis of the recent past. I have a chronic pain disease with no cure and I am fairly certain that patients who suffer from chronic pain disorders are more often women which just increases the problem from a women's perspective. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I would have greatly benefited from a trip to the ER due to break through pain yet I stayed home rather than dealing with the attitudes and lack of treatment from the doctors. I don't even use daily narcotic medications anymore because I am getting ok coverage with 2 spinal cord stimulation devices that are implanted in my back and non-narcotic meds but I still get treated like a drug seeker and I have even been refused treatment for acute breakthrough pain atan emergency room. I thank God that I am at least considered to be a white woman, women of color have the worst of it all between time in trying to obtain proper unbiased care and proper treatment.

  • CharlotEYUT


     2 days ago

    Very comprehensive analysis Mike. Thanks!

  • EbinElm


     2 days ago

    This is why I always take John Oliver with a grain of salt as, honestly, you should with any information source. But I feel with comedic news/political/sociological commentary shows that you should be even more careful. Because, while I highly enjoy Last Week Tonight, and the comedy plays a huge role in getting people to pay attention to serious subjects, it is really easy for objective facts and rationality to take a hit in favor of delivering a joke or persuading the audience. And John Oliver's primary objective is to persuade. The show seeks to infor and entertain, but it is still a propoganda style commentary show that has an obvious bias, just like most other news shows out there.

  • willl nifemi

    willl nifemi

     2 days ago

    i'm more than grateful for this video :')

  • Vinita Sharma

    Vinita Sharma

     3 days ago

    There are always biological differences between the same species... its genetics.
    The question should be difference in biological processes is there or not? and the answer is no.



     3 days ago

    What I find troubling about this video is the doctor's insistence on harping on ZIP codes and incomes when it comes to racial bias in medicine. Studies have clearly pointed out that African American, Hispanic, and indigenous patients are consistently denied healthcare and services, regardless of wealth and income--just as they are less likely to receive employment offers than whites (even if they are better qualified), and are more likely to obtain credit (at favorable rates), even after having similar or better scores than their white counterparts. I appreciate that not everything is all doom and gloom, BUT whitesplaining these issues by reflexively slapping a bright side to everything (i.e. ACCEPT THAT THESE ARE SERIOUS PROBLEMS), you're encouraging otherwise disaffected people to disregard the problems altogether (remember the black woman who said her doctors thought she was exaggerating her symptoms and making things up), and thus are actually making them worse.

  • Kida001


     3 days ago

    Naw, some doctors are just plain prejudiced. This is why I pick doctors from foreign countries. Never had them not take me seriously.

  • mary Roberts

    mary Roberts

     3 days ago

    My two favorite YouTubers - Dr Mike, and John Oliver! The only thing that could top this, is if the TARDIS landed at Hogwarts!