When Hella de Jonge starts suffering from heart problems, she reacts badly to her medications: drowsiness, pain and even hallucinations. She finds out that the female heart differs from the male. De Jonge talks to researchers, medical professionals and patients, and confronts the doctor who suggested her complaints were psychosomatic.
Because medical research has mostly been conducted on men, there are big gaps in medical knowledge about the female body. Doctors often don’t recognize heart complaints suffered by women, leading to many wrong diagnoses. Like a cardiologist says about the moment she first heard about the specific characteristics of the female heart: ‘So with all these women to whom I said “congratulations, beautiful blood vessels”, I sent home a time bomb.’
Many (male) cardiologists dismiss the differences between men and women or suggest that it’s mostly a feminist agenda item. How do you establish a culture change in the study books and the consulting and treatment rooms? Effective and passionate plea for empathy in health care and against the culture of protocols.