Bias In Medicine: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

  • Published on Aug 19, 2019
  • John Oliver discusses the roles that gender and racial bias can play in medical treatment.
    Connect with Last Week Tonight online...
    Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight RU-clip channel for more almost news as it almost happens:
    Find Last Week Tonight on Facebook like your mom would: lastweektonight
    Follow us on Twitter for news about jokes and jokes about news: lastweektonight
    Visit our official site for all that other stuff at once:
  • EntertainmentEntertainment

Comments • 18 128

  • Basil Odira
    Basil Odira Day ago

    Maybe Women are better off going to women Dr's just like Us black folks are more comfortable with black doctors. Problem is white men dominate

  • Knowledgeandbeauty

    Why is this episode not posted on Facebook?

  • Brittany Lawless
    Brittany Lawless 2 days ago +2

    Also fat people deal with a whole lot of bias in medical treatment.

  • Diana Eidson
    Diana Eidson 2 days ago

    Fewer opioid prescriptions is actually beneficial, based on the likelihood of addiction and the clear over-prescription of these deadly meds.

  • Diana Eidson
    Diana Eidson 2 days ago

    I get that there’s sex, gender, and racial bias. Intertwined with each is bias based on socioeconomic status. What say you about this? We have to have money and good insurance to receive proper care. That is obscene.

  • 2nd classCitizen
    2nd classCitizen 2 days ago

    Can't wait for the day when the World sees doctors for the innept peices of money hungry shit that most but not all of them are.

  • Raezores
    Raezores 2 days ago

    At this point I just realized that God doesn't exist just because the way we act to each other.
    Or he does he's just old man in bed at his last days you guys know what that means the niceness is gone.

  • Phoebe Denton
    Phoebe Denton 2 days ago

    I once went to the ER with cellulitis that was spreading rapidly, by the time I managed to get there, my entire right arm was affected. The doctor told me to go home and come back if I saw streaking down my arm. I said to him "but doesn't streaking mean I'd have blood poisoning?" and he said "yes, but we don't have any spare beds". Didn't even give me any antibiotics. As I walked out I saw a man with what looked like a sprained ankle (they were giving him a stretchy bandage, so not broken) being offered a bed. I went home, got blood poisoning, and almost died.

  • Aa Ba
    Aa Ba 2 days ago +1

    Awful propaganda

  • Donna Campbell
    Donna Campbell 2 days ago +3

    Pesky hormones? Testosterone makes most men unstable (it causes all kinds of violence, it causes them to take all kinds of risks)) but women have the pesky hormones. Yeah right.

  • Kevin Savage
    Kevin Savage 2 days ago

    Ummm. It's not about menstrual cycles. It's about the fear of teratogenic mutations.

  • spookydonkey513
    spookydonkey513 2 days ago

    Unfortunately a lot of systemic issues addressed on this show are near impossible to do anything about because at least 40% of Americans don’t give a fuck about you if you are female, a poc, gay or basically anything not white, male and straight (preferably wealthy too).

  • {Yasenia}
    {Yasenia} 2 days ago

    If you think that being a woman or black makes you least likely to get good medical help, which it does, just imagine being transgender. Or even worst, being intersex. As an intersex people I can tell you that when I tell doctors that ai am intersex and what possible congenital conditions I might had been born with (I said what possible because most intersex people are misdiagnosed more than once before they get a correct diagnose), I can see smoke coming out of their ears as their little brains overload. The ones that really get to me are the ones that try to act like their know what intersex really means (no it is not a new word for "hermaphrodite" - funny!) or understand the conditions and the many variations of them. Yet I can tell that 99% of doctors do not know their butthole from a hole on the ground when it comes to intersex conditions.
    My advice to people in general. When you go to see a doctor, arm yourself with the one thing they hate the most for their patients to have. That is knowledge. Learn all you can about your conditions and signs and symptoms. Don't take the word of a doctor as if it was the word of God himself. Of something does not make sense say so. But do not because a disrespectful pain in the ass. But an educated pain in the ass. Either way doctors hate that. They hate when you question them with facts and medical knowledge. You'd be surprise how they change the tune of their sings when they see you know are medically educated.

  • Jeffery C
    Jeffery C 3 days ago

    We are soooo dumb... Ffs.

  • Amy Leifeste
    Amy Leifeste 3 days ago

    I am a 25 year old white woman who looks barely 18. I’ve been in knee pain for three months now while seeing an orthopedic specialist who has continually minimized my complaints of pain and that his treatments aren’t working and the pain is getting worse. I had to ASK him for an MRI after two cortisone shots caused excruciating pain and didn’t reduce the pain. I’ve also had issues getting him to sign off on my disability claims even as I’m LIMPING into his office. I left his office today weeping because he made me feel so small and like he didn’t believe me. It the most frustrating thing.

  • Vile Crocodile
    Vile Crocodile 3 days ago +2

    If this a joke? White males are dropping like flies.

  • cicalinarrot
    cicalinarrot 3 days ago

    At 7:21 John telling the runner to "Go home now" as if he was on first base is just as british as it gets.

  • kucfogflesrouy hctib


    • kucfogflesrouy hctib
      kucfogflesrouy hctib 3 days ago


    • Ayla Aron
      Ayla Aron 3 days ago +1

      Present your counter arguments.

  • Nicole
    Nicole 3 days ago +3

    If anyone wants to learn more about the problem of racism and sexism in medicine, I recommend reading the book by Maya Dusenbery called, "Doing Harm, The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick." It looks like this is where John Oliver got much of the information. Another book on the topic of racism and sexism in medicine is called, "The Hidden Malpractice, How American Medicine Mistreats Women," by Gena Corea. This book dates back to the 1970s and the Women's Health Movement. The book explains how medical practice, itself, has been influenced and directed by the white male patriarchal beliefs since the doctors were first required to be accredited, and became "professionals" in the 1830s. The book is full of horror stories about women being mistreated by the healthcare system. It also discusses how black women have been treated particularly badly. The book mentions how white women were denied the right to be sterilized, even up to the 1970s. In contrast to black women, were sterilized against their will even up to the1970s. The book recounts a horror story of a black woman who in 1972, went to a hospital for an abortion. The doctors told her they would next do "a tubal ligation," figuring her to be too stupid to know this meant "tying her tubes." The book quotes her, saying, "I'm just glad I know- I mean, what if I had not heard the words before? They were slipping it right by. And I said, "Do you think I'm an idiot? My blood pressure just shot up And I said "No." I would have done anything to get out of there. They said, "You're in now. I got kind of scared. I worked at the university. I had never been on welfare." Discussion about these problems are finally happening. Still, it's hard to find material on the subject. Another book I recommend is "All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache," by Paula Kamen. Last, but not least, the old TV show, "The Golden Girls," did a two part episode on this subject, called, "Sick and Tired." The writers and actors in this show handled this subject excellently. Parts of that episode are here on RU-clips. Also, Samantha Bee did a piece on Full Frontal about this topic and how it relates to a disease called "endometriosis." That episode is called, "The History of Women's Pain," and it's here on RU-clip.

  • Sun and D-970
    Sun and D-970 3 days ago

    Some Doctors are just a piece of work.

  • Ale Titan
    Ale Titan 4 days ago

    3:25 there's some news stories of women dying because Dr.'s thought they were "faking it" and didn't get the help they needed

  • Rebecca Sikes
    Rebecca Sikes 4 days ago +1

    He should also talk about mental status. I take medication for depression and anxiety so every time i go to the doctor, no matter what symptoms I say i have, they always try to pin it on my meds or my mental health. I went to the doctor a few months ago because of urgency and pain when urinating and they sent me home because "it's probably stress." ????? A few days later, I was peeing blood and my kidney was infected. FINALLY they let me have antibiotics. For a few years, my throat will randomly close up at night and I'll have shooting pains in my chest. The first time it happened I went to the emergency room and they said it was a panic attack. I told them it wasn't, I've had panic attacks that's not how they feel to me. Also, ummm, I wasn't panicking it just hurt. Every time I try to see a doctor about it they ALWAYS and without fail brush it off as something to do with my mental health. No doctor ever takes my complaints seriously.

  • Parker Hope
    Parker Hope 4 days ago

    Watch doctor mikes response video to this

  • Red Holley
    Red Holley 4 days ago

    This reminds me when I was in the ER because I thought I tore something in my abdomen from untreated bulimia b/p cycles and he told me to try using a toothbrush (rather than my fingers because he did in fact ask) next time. A medical professional just told a bulimic 17yo (at the time) girl how to vomit better...
    Btw it was my gallbladder, even me describing the pain type and location he didn’t think to do an ultrasound.

  • KomaKinoX z
    KomaKinoX z 4 days ago

    We need to add a double thumbs up option on videos

  • Beloved Woman
    Beloved Woman 4 days ago

    "I got Larry to record the white person's 7 word mating call - I'd like to speak to your supervisor." ROTFLMAO 🤣😂🤣🤣😂🤣

  • Medical Legal
    Medical Legal 4 days ago +1

    I once chatted with a doctor from the US. Im a medical student, and the way he talked, the sense of entitlement and arrogance put me off. The idea of being a humble doctor was inconceivable to him, the idea that doctor can be limited in his efforts to treat a patient was not entertained. To him, he was god to the patient, and when i asked him what happens if he loses a patient, he dismissed me by saying that will never happen because he is that good. How can you be a healthcare professional if you dont realize how fragile a human life can be?

  • Lowland Raised
    Lowland Raised 4 days ago

    Honestly my Dr hates us all equally. I came in having a massive asthma attack and he prescribed me a steroid pack and sent me out the door while still having the asthma attack. Luckily and quite ironically his office is attached to the hospital which I walked to and got admitted for 5 days before they, again ironically, asked why my dr did not admit me to the hospital to begin with given he is the Chief of Medicine at the hospital.

  • Steve Bulbow MD
    Steve Bulbow MD 4 days ago

    Where the fück did these supposed "doctors" study "medicine"? In the back alley?

  • Jamie Howington
    Jamie Howington 4 days ago

    That comment about Black people having a thick skin, is what they believed during slavery.

    • YummyCarrot
      YummyCarrot 2 days ago

      But there are differences in biology between the average white and black male. I suggest you go and take the test yourself. It's quite difficult. John Oliver is making a moot point there. Blacks not having thicker skin isn't such an obvious question. How are you so sure they don't? Plus the actual question talked about collagen content in the skin. One of the question asks about black people having denser bones than white people. And that fact is true. So is that also so obvious?

  • Landcervelatwurst
    Landcervelatwurst 5 days ago +3

    Every time i hear about education in america, even for doctors it seems, i am so happy to be european. I can't imagine having a medical professional not taking me seriously, if that happened to me, i would just leave and go to the next.

  • Montesama314
    Montesama314 5 days ago +1

    Hey, ever wondered why the opioid epidemic seems to largely affect whites more than anyone else? Hmm...

    • momo penguins
      momo penguins 5 days ago

      1) no I didnt 2) wait thats a good point 3) does it really (oof), I would research this but I assume you know a bit about it so you can explain and all I would have to do is fact check

  • Justin Mochi
    Justin Mochi 5 days ago

    So the people who spend decades getting degrees at these liberal, socially progressive colleges like Harvard are racist/sexist? Ok I didn't like them anyway.

  • Felix Loewenich
    Felix Loewenich 5 days ago

    Too white to talk about it? That's such a stupid idea

  • Karl Renner
    Karl Renner 5 days ago

    Donald Trump is the Billy Graham of bigots.

  • Hugh Manetti
    Hugh Manetti 5 days ago

    God knows I love John Oliver.

  • Madeleine Waters Media
    Madeleine Waters Media 5 days ago +2

    Amazing piece and I love Wanda so much. I’m surprised he didn’t mention Serena Williams blood clot story tho- that was some insane racial/ sexist bias

  • XzTS
    XzTS 5 days ago


  • Zain Hakeem
    Zain Hakeem 6 days ago +1

    Unfortunately, this is a fantastically naive consideration of this issue. It completely ignores the issues of Bayesian diagnostics, harms of over diagnosis, and the opiate epidemic. I love your show, Mr. Oliver, but I'd ask you to follow me on hospital rounds for a few days to learn the truth behind the so called medical "bias". This episode completely misses the actual issues and challenges.

  • badem
    badem 6 days ago

    what a load of crap!

  • Cheyenne Le Hale
    Cheyenne Le Hale 6 days ago

    Seriously, "Bring A White Man" is an effective way to get good medical care. If I go to the doctor or ER alone, the medical professionals don't listen, or worse, leave me in a room alone, for hours, to receive zero medical treatment prior to being sent home, but if I drag one of my white male friends along, to basically repeat everything I say, I receive actual medical care.

  • Mohammed AlModhayan
    Mohammed AlModhayan 6 days ago +1

    There is bias, I don’t think it’s straight forward gender or racial bias thou.
    It’s income bias.
    Hear me out here.
    Whites are more likely to earn more income than blacks, therefore, they are more likely to be treated in better hospitals or by better doctors.
    Same goes with gender. Males are more likely to earn more income than females, therefore, they are more likely to receive better and more expensive medical treatments than females.
    To measure gender bias or racial bias here, you need to look into countries where income and medical treatment are not correlated. In other words, look into countries where medical services are free and equally distributed.

    • Mohammed AlModhayan
      Mohammed AlModhayan 6 days ago

      And no. Wanda Sykes is not a representative here and can’t talk about bias medicine. She’s rich, and no doctor is going to mistreat Wanda.

  • Marissa Enriquez
    Marissa Enriquez 6 days ago

    When we accept that sexist & racist institutions exist we collectively create that fiction in our lives and misconstrue the world around us. Sure there are racist people but this is victim hood mentality straight to the brain. These stories are personal anecdotes. The far and few chosen out of countless cases. These articles are hand picked.
    I’m just saying
    I used to believe all this stuff.
    Now if you research a little on the other side you see the motives of both parties.
    (dem & rep)
    Democrats talk about color and sex all the time. All these topics to distract and separate us. GOP talks about actual policies and reform - they’ve always stayed the same. Dems stick their finger to the twitter wind. And they’ve become socialist because of it.
    I’m sad to say he supports their agenda to the T
    This is what he gets paid to do. To get into your perception. It’s so easy with comedy man

  • Jonathan Locke
    Jonathan Locke 6 days ago

    Would love to see a patented Oliver Rant(tm) about Lyme disease showing both sides of the medical and research controversy, but emphasizing how little funding there is for resolving these controversies. Even as tick-borne illness and Lyme disease explode into a global pandemic, expanding into Canada where it is forecasted in Climate change-related research to become highly endemic in all areas east of the Mississippi River, PTLDS remains one of the worst and longest running controversies in the history of medicine, having raged for more than 30 years. We owe it to the cumulative 70K to 2M patients suffering from long term health problems related to Lyme disease infection to provide the funding to resolve this issue.

  • Hurri
    Hurri 6 days ago

    So John, Jesus was as white as it gets after all. And take this with a pinch of salt.

  • Daniel Choi
    Daniel Choi 6 days ago

    John, please do a segment on "stem cell" centers that are manipulating desperate patients into paying thousands of dollars for treatments that don't work and actually harm patients. I saw these patients personally while in residency at the University of Miami hospital. It is absolutely shameless what they do.

    • Daniel Choi
      Daniel Choi 6 days ago

  • El-ahrairah
    El-ahrairah 6 days ago

    I don't want to be "one of those people" who seems like i am attempting to dispute Wanda's points. But i have not had a white doctor since like the mid 90s. I think they've all been Indian, maybe Pakistani.

  • plantgirl69
    plantgirl69 7 days ago

    This is so stupid because women are proven to tolerate pain better, so you'd think that if they're complaining about something it would be taken seriously

  • Anonymous Baros
    Anonymous Baros 7 days ago

    I believe everything. But you realize the transgender community contradicts a lot of this.

  • Angry Armenian
    Angry Armenian 7 days ago

    Doctors are mostly indian or asian.. they talk about white man is the doctor? a doctor is someone who goes to school and works hard to become a doctor regardless of the color of their skin. This is show is seriously full of bullshit.

  • Angry Armenian
    Angry Armenian 7 days ago

    what is he talking about? women get treated better for pain.

  • Ar Ziel
    Ar Ziel 7 days ago

    Wait a Minute John,what about: that many Americans have no medicare.
    I thing many People who need a Doctor but dont have whould give a fuck of race/gender bias🙊
    Because first Problem is to have a Doctor or medicine.
    The Secound is: Pay the fucking Medicare a abort for woman or not🤗
    So the Problem begins in America really early before crisis core for gender or race is open.
    Best regrads and good Show again.

  • Matilde
    Matilde 8 days ago

    Couple weeks ago , i went to see my doctor for a strain on my right shoulder. Silly me, i thought i was going to get X-rays or MRI or an muscle relaxer Rx....Ha! I was sent home with naproxen 500mg which did nothing at all.

  • phyzzx
    phyzzx 8 days ago +1

    OMG, I just love every time he rips business daddy, but this was especially amazing.

  • Logan Not the one from Marvel

    You must be a doctor...because you just saw the extent of my patience

  • K J
    K J 8 days ago

    I’m a disabled woman. After a surgery, I was pretty sure I was developing pneumonia, likely from intubation because my immune system sucks. It is a big concern after the type of surgery that I had. I had to go to the ER *3 times* before they’d do imaging on my chest, and I only got it because my dismissive male surgeon wasn’t there and I instead had a female ER doctor.
    Shocker, I had awful pneumonia, severe enough that I had to get IV antibiotics! They were seriously concerned for my safety. And the doctor told me that my surgeon or his nurses should have given me a spirometer (lung exerciser) to prevent the development of pneumonia, but they never even mentioned it, even after I came to the ER complaining of lung issues!
    Now, my husband comes to most of my appointments and I am always taken more seriously.

  • Thomas Korn
    Thomas Korn 8 days ago

    dear Mr. Oliver. Please just stop with the fear mongering and lies. You're worse than Glen Beck

  • PointingOutObvious
    PointingOutObvious 8 days ago

    Don't forget money bias. My $poor$ aunt was left in the hospital bleeding into a coma in the brain to death. Then hospital got the audacity to ask for her organs. My classmate got rupture vein in the head and she got a helicopter ride to a hospital with a surgeon waiting to save her, which he did.

  • T ZB
    T ZB 9 days ago +8

    "Pesky hormones" like testosterone! Oh, wait...

  • Terry Fulds
    Terry Fulds 9 days ago

    This is racist... not all black people are poor, and not all white people are rich...