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Dr. Ira Gouterman / racism in diagnosis

1 NJ, United States

I went to Dr. Gouterman for a hair loss problem. 25 years earlier I had been diagnosed by another doctor with alopecia areata, a condition in which the hair comes out at the roots. It doesn't break off as with overuse of hair products and is generally not caused by them. The original condition was treated and I was told at that time to expect a re-occurance at some point during my life. It did. I tried to explain this to Dr. Gouterman, but he refused to listen. He made the assumption that because I am African-American that my condition was caused by relaxers, etc. I told him that I only rarely use relaxers and that I have NEVER had a weave or done anything extreme to my hair. His suggestion(after not bothering to run any tests or even examine me) was that I should "cut off all my hair and wear it in a short afro." ###! First of all my hair isn't the type that can make an "afro" secondly he just made a racist assumption about what I do to my hair without even trying to deal with the problem.

I got a second opinion from a doctor that listened to me and did a biopsy to determine the exact cause of the problem. She didn't make assumptions based on race and was genuinely interested in helping me. She prescribed treatment which cleared up the problem. By the way, I have insurance which paid for the tests and all medical treatments.

The bottom line here is this: 1). ALWAYS get a second opinion! and 2). some doctors, despite their education and medical degrees can be just as racist as the most ignorant, backwoods redneck.

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