Persistent Patients

Listen 48:42
Woman holding and pushing hand emergency button in hospital

(Mengdakara/Big Stock)

Most of us trust our doctors to figure out what’s wrong with us — but pinpointing illness isn’t always that easy. Sometimes, getting the right diagnosis — and the right treatment — requires patient persistence: leaning in, pushing for answers, and taking charge.

On this episode, we talk to patients who took their health into their own hands after getting the brush-off from health care professionals — along with doctors who are rethinking the anatomy of diagnosis. We hear stories about the challenges of medical detective work, a controversial illness that’s pitting patients against doctors, and one woman whose pushy mom ended up saving her life.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Physician and researcher Paul Offit explains how diagnosis is like detective work, and why young doctors are taught to “look for horses, not zebras when they’re hearing hoofbeats.”
  • Black women are three-to-four times more likely to die during pregnancy, and twice as likely to lose a child than their white counterparts. But now, Tennessee doula Kristin Mejia-Greene is trying to change that, with a nonprofit aimed at increasing the number of Black doulas — and tailoring their training to improve Black women’s maternal outcomes. WPLN’s Damon Mitchell reports. His story is part of The Pulse’s reporting on health equity, which is supported by the Commonwealth Foundation.

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