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

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Jj Smith
Jj Smith - 9 hours ago
So what? I'm homeless so I can't get an opioid to treat my pain? That's some socioeconomic bias right there.
Christine Shell
Christine Shell - 14 hours ago
My friend last year had a stroke and had to fight to get the police and EMT to check her for a stroke. They wanted to arrest her for suspected drug use after she called 911 shortly after backing out of her driveway and into her mailbox. She told them she thought she was having a stroke. They wasted precious time arguing that her slurred speech and other symptoms were drug related while she demanded they test her for a stroke.
Christine Shell
Christine Shell - 14 hours ago
Read this article. Bias against women is life- threatening.
t temp
t temp - 21 hour ago
I appreciate you doing the research and defending your profession, but some of the things you said just sounded like another white male going "well actually..."
Heleen Wolf
Heleen Wolf - Day ago
Just a moment of silence for all the woman with endomtrioses
Samantha Murphy-Keller
I just want to know why this was ever happening in the first place? 🤔 Like, if doctors are supposed to be so educated and unbiased - why did discrepancies like this EVER happen? 🤷🏽‍♀️ Shouldn’t they have been treating everyone perfectly equally?? I don’t know, I think when an absolutely unacceptable incident like the one with that woman who was experiencing unbearable pain and the moronic “doctor” wouldn’t take her seriously, he should be fired immediately. He doesn’t deserve to work in medicine.
Kira Brighton
Kira Brighton - Day ago
I'd love it if you could talk about the issues with a past (and sometimes present) lack of research in female predominant conditions like fibromyalgia!
Ischys Syrra
Ischys Syrra - 2 days ago
You say you wanna talk about why these biases exist within healthcare, but you do in a way excuse the racism and sexism by only concluding it's because of socioeconomic differences. These differences are merely a symptom of the racism and sexism ingrained in society.
Ischys Syrra
Ischys Syrra - 2 days ago
It's easy for a white male to say "remember, we're making progress" when the healthcare system and it's biased people has ruined so many lives. Mine included.

Remember that.
Dr. Jeango
Dr. Jeango - 2 days ago
If research is not powered to have a balanced population ( meaning similar amounts of male and females), it is not a good enough research publication in general. That would be a weakness of at least a cancer drug study in the current era (unless we are talking obviously about prostate or penile cancer, or uterine, vulvar, cervix and ovarian cancer respectively in men or women). I am a cancer doctor and most of the current studies or for the past 2 decades, balancing the populations is paramount to get results that can be apply to more people in diseases that affect both genders, however the incidence of certain groups of diseases vary sometimes between male and female or even between races. Also, in certain diseases are simply hard to enroll patients, example, men can have breast cancer too but is about a 1% of the patients for obvious reasons and we have to extrapolate all the results from all the breast cancer studies to men because otherwise the studies could not be done or ever published. I agree with Dr. Mike that we are trained to not make recommendation or decide on what our patients get based on their race or gender, but based on their symptoms and objective data and the uniqueness of each patient. We are trained to treat without bias, and with respect and compassion. I believe that every doctor should do the same.
Sam Sileno
Sam Sileno - 2 days ago
I would argue that some of the highest rated, quality hospitals in the country are located in low income, urban centers with a high proportion of patients of color. Take a look at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Tulane in New Orleans as examples.
Kurt Julien
Kurt Julien - 2 days ago
No one should go into medicine to make money. A person should have a love of healing & humanity. That is my opinion
Lupinequeen13 - 2 days ago
I'd be curious to see how a country with universal health care like Canada compares. Because the government pays for everything (or almost everything), hospitals can treat patients without worrying as much about their income. I wonder if that changes things?
woo wooo
woo wooo - 2 days ago
When you say; because women are experiencing these atypical symptoms, that's the part that's attributing bias. - the moment we state that the symptoms of half the population are atypical you're already establishing with the way you think about this topic that women have unusual symptoms and that's why doctors don't register it often enough. Just thinking atypical vs typical for women is generating subconcious bias that affects how doctors look at patients and think about treatment. You're absolutely right that more awareness needs to be raised about the differences in how women and men present symptoms differently to close the gap. But subconcious bias, isn't about active discrimination its about missing how we think about things. And thinking about women's symptoms as atypical vs men's is the part of the bias' . This isn't an attack, but food for thought - the way we think about innocuous words like atypical as it relates to sex, when atypical is more often than not typical for 50% of your patients.
Alexander Schmoldt
Alexander Schmoldt - 2 days ago
so wait
who are the not assigned male at birth, are women? if not assigned male at birth how should a doctor treat them, like a man? even with different genes organs hormones etc.
this is was peak gender confusion looks like on john oliver part.

and yes when he is talking aboout study design it has gotten better, but not only in the 20 years this has started mostly after wii and slowly the better studies have come, futhermore computer have made it possible to handle the massiv amount of data if you wanna control so much. so its not doctors have been shitty in the 80 but it was oft not possible to handle so many variants. good studies in the 80/90 had 1000 patients. average cancer studies today have 20.000 in multiple hospitals.
Alexander Schmoldt
Alexander Schmoldt - 3 days ago
18 female 3 male, this is good diversity? is it though? would it be good diversity with 3 females on 18 males? in a 50/50 society?
Alexander Schmoldt
Alexander Schmoldt - 2 days ago
@Butcher Pete XD 2+2=5 Yeah, they have mostly lost the plot. They want to fumble equality of out come when we haven't figured out equality of chance yet. And they hope they can do in reverse. Don't know which country you are from. But alone in socioeconomic education and health. (which are the 3 biggest factors many are fucked an left behind) This lead to now where cause a black poor child is as fucked as a white poor child. And I don't really care if there are disproportionate more poc children. And even if there would be a systemic problem like the gender pay gap. Let's just for 1 second think it's real. If we just pay every women 20% more. Would it solve anything? Would it make anything fairer or better? Than the male nurse gets 20% less than the female nurse, but that nurses are under payed and some bankers quite overplayed wouldn't solve anything.
Butcher Pete
Butcher Pete - 2 days ago
I'm glad someone said it. The modern idea of "diversity" is wrapped in political double-think. Diversity means privledge against white men, it has nothing to do with actually making anything "diverse." 2+2=5
Christina Schmidt
Christina Schmidt - 3 days ago
This is a really long way of saying #notallmen 🙄
coffeyaum - 9 hours ago
Zexo Man
Zexo Man - 3 days ago
Learning about this now, i can't help but think what would these studies show if done in my homecountry Egypt.
Would their be disparities between copts, nubians, arabs, amazigh? I bet there would.
J No
J No - 3 days ago
6:25 "Sex has been found to influence the expression, progression and outcome of many common medical conditions and can influence pharmacokinetics and responses to therapy". And yet a big part of the problem is that most drugs have not been and still are not tested on women. Specifically, because the results might be different!
Daniel de Andrade
Daniel de Andrade - 3 days ago
"If I was male I would've been treated differently"
Mothetfucker, at this point you're batshit insane
El Rey
El Rey - 3 days ago
About the clip at 11:11
I don't remember if we are told what type of doctor this woman went to, but I (a male) have personally had this experience where I went to the ER - for chest pain, as it so happens. They ran tests, and I was stuck in the waiting room for 5 hours. I couldn't leave to get food (I hadn't eaten anything that day, nor had dinner the night before), and by the time I left my hunger pains were worse than my chest pain.

The doctor who spoke with me said almost exactly the same thing "well, we don't know what's wrong with you, but it's not one of these things that we were looking out for." When I expressed concern, the doctor responded somewhat callously "It's not our job to figure out what's wrong with you, just to tell you it's not life threatening. You need to schedule an appointment with your physician if you want more."

... and then when I went to the physician, they basically said the same thing. They scheduled a different set of tests, none of which showed anything definitive or worrying, I guess. The physician told me that even if the pain persisted indefinitely, it wasn't a problem and they wouldn't do anything more about it unless it got worse. As long as it wasn't getting worse, "try not to worry about it".
Timo Kampwerth
Timo Kampwerth - 3 days ago
Now this should be interesting
KateandZena - 4 days ago
Sex bias is very real in psychology, especially for diagnosis for Autism. When I was 3, I was originally diagnosed with Autism, but the diagnosis was thrown out because “girls can’t get autism.” I was 22 when when I was correctly diagnosed with Autism, after being misdiagnosed with bipolar, OCD, and even borderline personality.
It took me 8 years to be diagnosed with Lupus. Why? “Well, are you sure you’re not making up your pain?” “Well, it’s not arthritis but you need some anti-anxiety meds.” Needless to say I cried when I was diagnosed because I was validated. I wasn’t nuts!
Martin Leipold
Martin Leipold - 4 days ago
Sometimes patients are drama queens regardless of sex. The female patient telling the doctor thought her to be a drama queen reminded me so much of a patient of ours who is a total drama queen. She shows up 6 times a month with absolutely nothing she should bother a doctor with. 5 of this 6 times she doesn‘t have a date scheduled with us even though she asks for treatment that should be scheduled and every damn time she had a scheduled date she showed up at least 20minutes late and our average waiting time for scheduled patients is 4minutes so she delays the whole process because patients who are scheduled after her learned that we are pretty quick and thus absolutely noone shows up an hour early and very few people arrive half an hour early. Most patients arrive 5 minutes before their scheduled date and get their names called on time in most cases. This patient annoys me so much and we know that she complained to other doctors and other patients that we are unfriendly towards her without reason.
It‘s not said that the woman in the clip is just like our patient but everything about this woman reminds me of our patient and after some time you start developing a skill to spot difficult patients.
Patients are in no way always the good people those clips are trying to label them as.
Brad Flores
Brad Flores - 4 days ago
The more and more I watch Dr Mike, the more and more I realize that he's actually trying to make a difference, and give hope and information about the medical world with an open heart. Good on you brother! Keep it going ! If all doctors were like you... We'd be MILES further 🤘
Rachel - 4 days ago
It has been the norm in my experience. Both for myself and other female family members and friends. We've had conversations about it many times.
Thererno - 4 days ago
Bias can be introduced systematically. It’s still bias. It’s still real.
Bill Carmichael
Bill Carmichael - 4 days ago
Each time you describe women's/non-white patients symptoms "atypical", you are reinforcing the idea that white men are typical ("normal"?) .
YummyCarrot - 3 days ago
Hey Bill, just to clarify this: Typical and Atypical refers to constellation of symptoms that are more and less common respectively and has nothing to do with sex or race. To simplify it, typical = chest pain, atypical = stomach ache. The vast majority of women still present typically when they have a heart attack. Men can also present atypically i.e. theyre having a heart attack but they complain of stomach ache. However more women presents atypically than men. It has nothing to do with men being default or anything to do with gender/race and women still present typically in most situations. It's to do with how common something is. There are other uses of these said words in Medicine and differs depending on the condition you're talking about, but none of them are gendered at all.
Thomai Hatsios
Thomai Hatsios - 4 days ago
Doctor Mike- this is an interesting bit of info "Women weren’t included in clinical trials until the 1990s. " from this article:
Hannah T.
Hannah T. - 4 days ago
Speaking as a young woman with too much experience with pain and surgeries for both reproductive organs and a hip, I am consistently told by doctors (but not all doctors) that I cannot possibly be able to differentiate between specific pains. E.g., there is no way that I can know when a pain is or is not an ovarian cyst.
I had PCOS and was extremely familiar with cyst pain. But even during my pregnancy when we had already established that I had a hyper
-stimulated ovary from fertility treatments and we were monitoring its growth to 15 cm with three 8 cm cysts, when I went into the ER at 32 weeks for an extremely acute increase in that specific pain, and even I could clearly see the ultrasound show a lack of blood flow to that ovary, I had a team of doctors spend 24 hours looking for kidney stones and trying to convince me that that was more likely the issue. It wasn't until a hospital rotation that I got a doctor almost sprinting into my room saying he was taking me back to the OR NOW because my ovary had completely torsed in the imaging 24 hours before! Super dangerous.
A miserable 8 surgeries in 8 years now (by no means a good thing), and a lot of instances in between, it turns out that Every Single Time I have told doctors that a pain was ovarian or uterine or my hip joint or something altogether different - every single time - I have correctly identified the source of my pain. But I have to fight tooth and nail to get the doctors to listen to me and do the work to get on the same page. It took 2 YEARS to get surgery to repair a badly torn hip labrum because they just refused to look in the right place. Over and over I was told it was pelvic pain and that I couldn't tell the difference.
Unfortunately, in my experience, doctors have been extremely quick to dismiss my own experiences in my own body because THEY cannot differentiate between the pains a woman can feel, and because they want to tell me I am exaggerating.
singingfan - 5 days ago
I’m an early 30 year old Caucasian woman. An example of a bias is when I was experiencing pain in my abdomen and chest. When I went to my local ER, I was sent home telling me to take acid reflux OTC meds. I then returned a few days later when I developed severe pain and severe throwing up. When I returned to the ER I needed an emergency gallbladder removal!!
Bahb Woolley
Bahb Woolley - 5 days ago
Oliver is a comedian, not accountable for opinions like a Doctor is. His inaccuracies are not killing people. Why be apolgetic (an apologist) for bad medical care?
YummyCarrot - 3 days ago
In my opinion, from what I've heard throughout Dr.Mike's video, he never excuses any bad behaviour for even a second. I think he put it best in his response and update video, that he's just trying to highlight other issues and factors that play a role in the disparity which are not being talked about. Which I think is a very good point.
looneyflight - 5 days ago
I love your break down so much better than John Olivers. He always slants thing to the left like its men trying to oppress women when there is so much more nuance to the situation. Not acknowledging differences between men and women that go into the differing outcomes. The same thing with actual differences between races.
hamdi hassan
hamdi hassan - 5 days ago
I love you doctor Mike but a lot of time especially during the parts of the video talking about people of color your explanation seemed a bit dismissive. I personally felt like you were unwilling to just except the facts but looking for any reason that it could be anything but racism or discrimination of black people that lead to these studies.
archangeldad2007 - 5 days ago
Dr Mike - I know it’s a tough question, but I’d be interested in your thoughts...
Some social commentary points to the idea that there is “no difference between men and women”. Has this impacted the practical application of medicine?
Maria Rib
Maria Rib - 5 days ago
12:12 Yes we are doing better but in your own language you perpetuate the issue. You say that women present with ATYPICAL symptom. These symptoms are not atypical for women. They are atypical for men. So even someone with your level of awareness still has the unconscious bias in the language you use to communicate the very issue at hand. I loved John Oliver's segment and I loved your discussion. I have already changed two of my doctors after his episode. Not only am I female but I'm morbidly obese with chronic pain issues. A doctor who doesn't look beyond these factors is not in my best interest.
YummyCarrot - 3 days ago
Hey Maria, just to clarify this: Typical and Atypical refers to constellation of symptoms that are more and less common respectively and has nothing to do with sex or race. To simplify it, typical = chest pain, atypical = stomach ache. The vast majority of women still present typically when they have a heart attack. Men can also present atypically i.e. theyre having a heart attack but they complain of stomach ache. However more women presents atypically than men. It has nothing to do with men being default or anything to do with gender/race and women still present typically in most situations. It's to do with how common something is. There are other uses of these said words in Medicine and differs depending on the condition you're talking about, but none of them are gendered at all.
Xan E
Xan E - 6 days ago
In my personal opinion, poorer and minority-dense neighborhoods have low-quality doctors that would never be employed in healthcare facilities in more affluent zipcodes. I myself travel an hour out of my way to hospitals in affluent white neighborhoods to get medical care-the difference is night and day. And my insurance is accepted at all these facilities.
WheelieWitch - 6 days ago
It's a huge problem. I have a family member who's assigned female at birth, who has a degenerative spine condition. The last few (YOUNG) doctors they've met were sure it was just 'anxiety'. It was adhesive arachnoiditis and ankylosing spondylitis.
And as a trans person, it's even more of a nightmare. Many of us avoid doctors altogether because we're gaslit and abused constantly.
Sassy Stasha Speaks SSS
Again, he keeps deflecting from bias so there is no way HIS discussion drives the change in the medical industry. This is a very typical stance that Non POC take when faced with any "accusation" of racism, or race related issues. As well as men when faced with gender issues. 15 years and yet here we are with a doctor saying "yes, but…not all doctors…not young doctors".
Mr. Josh
Mr. Josh - 6 days ago
Loving all the anecdotal evidence in the comments. 😎
circe delune
circe delune - 6 days ago
This is a mindset thing, imho. I’ve had doctors who were jerks. I didn’t assume it was because I was a woman. And, yes, black people may get poorer care, but not necessarily because they are black. People who have lower incomes tend to get poorer care, regardless of their color. Some doctors may be biased, but I don’t think the percentage is very high. I think most of these disparities have other causes.
Artemisa Tamez
Artemisa Tamez - 6 days ago
How can doctors be unaware of women’s biology? I hope this is a joke! Look Dr. I work in animal nutrition, I have a PhD in cell biology. I really know a lot about metabolism and understand pretty finely what the doctors could say to me. My son is Down syndrome and every single time, time and time again, the male doctors that we visit for (audiometries, vision test, allergy test, all sorts,) always talk to my husband never even look at me. And then, I start questioning and replying with my technical knowledge and every single time they get surprised, as if they would have never conceived that there could be talking to a female scientist. With true honest, I don’t think you can brush off toxic masculinity out of the equation. It is a think, and of course you have never experienced and never will.
Add E
Add E - 6 days ago
So, he left out a bit about the 'doctor' that said "it's my job to tell you what it's not." The guy needs to loose his job for so many reasons, but when you go to the ER, which is where that woman was, that is kind-of how it works. The ER goes down a comprehensive list of 'crap that will kill you' and if they eliminate everything, they send you home. You are then supposed to see your regular doctor or a specialist to get a diagnosis. It's called the Emergency department for a reason. If so many people didn't come for things that are CLEARLY not emergencies, they might be better able to diagnose people who are having more vague (female, whatever) symptoms, or who haven't been able to get an answer anywhere else.
As for the socioeconomic disparity, they should really take a look at rural vs city. Another thing that factors in, and this is a rural-white-people observation that may apply to other people; is the Medicare/Medicaid/overly-insured population that will take an ambulance to the ER for constipation (real patient), or a cold, or chronic-non-worsening backache, or some other such nonsense. These people KNOW they don't need either resource, but it's free, so why wait until tomorrow to drive themselves to the doctor? Seriously, KNOCK IT OFF! This means a hospital with limited staffing and limited resources is wasting time with your drug-store problem, or your doctor's note.
And DOCTOR's, listen up, especially you cardiologists, if your patient has been having a problem for two weeks and you only just found that it is a condition that has the potential to become life threatening, THEY DON'T NEED TO TAKE AN AMBULANCE TO THE ER either. They need to go to your office, today. Your office, or whatever floor of the hospital. The ER is busy. HOSPITALS stop telling your out-patients to call 911 if they have ANY problems. They don't need an ambulance because their bandage got wet, or their foley is leaking. Tell them what they should call an ambulance for and what they should call YOU for.
And DAGNABIT insurance companies need to pay for stuff. All the real stuff. If breast reconstruction DURING a mastectomy isn't covered, prosthetic testicles shouldn't be EVER.
Bonnie A
Bonnie A - 6 days ago
Regarding the narrowing of the race mortality rate, isn't that due to the increased mortality of rate of white men due to opioid overdoses? So maybe it's not that fewer black men are dying than before, but that more white men are dying than before.
sevter - 6 days ago
Dr mike is getting more and more defensive as the video goes on
Heavenly BluE
Heavenly BluE - 6 days ago
The racial disparity between black and white trauma patients is as it should be. How can an inner city hospital that treats mostly black Medicaid patients be expected to offer the same quality care as a suburban Hospital that treats primarily whites with private insurance? Everyone deserves good care, but the people who can afford world-class care deserve the special treatment they pay for.
The man to scared to get a tattoo
I know people are so scared of racism that they are afraid to say that were different in any way... but that's honestly extremely stupid... before travel became so simple humans evolved on different places in the world with different things to over come, theres no reason we would all be the exact same just because were human that's not how we would have evolved. If you look at different species like bears, different bears from different parts of the world vary in many ways... you're not racist if you say a polar bears stronger then a black bear........ and its equally not racist to assume different races have different genetics that affect things medically.
zibbiez23 - 6 days ago
If anyone has watched ants Canada or any of his music videos I wanna see them together. I think they could be fun they could do a funny song :)
Saanvi Sai
Saanvi Sai - 6 days ago
22:00 so you're saying that doctors are basically not giving meds to someone who actually needs it because of their worries/assumptions. You know, Benjamin Franklin said that, it's better to have 100 persons escape than one person suffer. And here, especially in the medical field, people are suffering worse than others.
Danielle Jaeger
Danielle Jaeger - 6 days ago
Yeah- these are retrospective studies. Of course there is no causal relationship
watery wanderer
watery wanderer - 6 days ago
“Women think I’ll call the doctor after I pick up the kids, or put the casserole in the oven” that’s so sexist.
Chosen Wisely
Chosen Wisely - 6 days ago
Typical John Oliver with his liberal, SJW propaganda.
ofeliaht - 7 days ago
It was your first video that I didn't click as I liked it, and that's very sad because it is apparent that you are not happy with the criticism made, however your position do not need to be a rebut ... you at least could have it first reflected on and decided to perhaps ignore the appeal of the subscribers for their position if you were unable to conduct a critical and fair analysis.
Because Dr. Mike, this is a reality of the medical community, not only in the USA but in many countries around the world because chauvinism and racism are real and make victims in all categories and social classes ... I could have been without this your positioning .. but thank you for sharing John Oliver's video, he did a great job, and you probably know, thanks! 👏👏
ofeliaht - 7 days ago
But I have to call you out about your coment about the knowledg of medical students about the fisiological diferences bethwen people with a skin with more melanin than others with less, I think you know best (these so called diferences are myths, irrational enough to categorize one person to other... women vs man, there are diferences, but not enough to put one on top of the other... there is no such thing as race beyond human race, and the all north americans should know best)... and I'm watching this after your coments on the guy who "tried to destroy reliability of mamografics exams"... your coments about that were well placed
But your critic about the data bringed on this analisys.... were often unecessary, proof of that, you prepared for the reaction, did you asked yourself the real reason why?
ofeliaht - 7 days ago
I think this John Oliver bias in medicine it is more than necessary to be made an to be acknowledged for the medical community, I think you're doing your part as well Doctor Mike. 👍🖖
Kitty Kat
Kitty Kat - 7 days ago
I love how you disagree with him and explain why he's wrong on some aspects
WithMetta - 7 days ago
I'm sorry it hurts you to see this criticisms, but it kills women and people of colour, so I'm not feeling all that bad for you right now. And humour is not what's needed. It's infuriating to have a wise cracking doctor "defusing", aka trivializing, a serious situation. Stop patronizing people. It may make you feel better but you may be misinterpreting the looks on the patients' faces. I know I have composed my face in just that way to comfort a jokey dr. John Oliver is a comedian, you are a doctor, they are not the same thing. Ignoring the biases is not a way to unearth flaws which may not be caused by bias. Addressing bias will reveal those flaws. Women's symptoms and presentation, for instance, are not "atypical". They are entirely typical for 50% of the population. They only appear atypical when viewed through bias. Why did you make the choice to defend doctors on this topic, rather than do one of your "deep dives" into this ongoing problem? And the victim blaming was a an interesting touch. Perhaps if women, people of colour, and other marginalized groups were respected as good witnesses to their own experience, they would not delay seeking treatment. People are still suffering and dying, and will continue to do so while this improvement you're so proud of creeps into the practice of medicine, if it ever does. If doctors don't truly understand their privilege and bias, you'll just keep saying some version of Doctors' lives matter. And that dreadful story that you did not want to say was "the norm", is the norm. There is far too much ego in medicine. Bias and ego are a bad combination.
Danielle E.
Danielle E. - 8 days ago
Thank you Dr. Mike for being willing to have the hard conversations.
mimi lili
mimi lili - 8 days ago
his fake optimistic side is fkin bulshit WEAK PUSSY RACIST KIND that need to be exposed racist doctors like him use the excuse that socioecomics wasn't considered in these research that's been conducted by Harvard doctors and other doctors THAT are not white
bye devil
don't let it hit ya where the good lord split yah
YummyCarrot - 5 days ago
@mimi lili woooooow
mimi lili
mimi lili - 5 days ago
@YummyCarrot still standing on the bridge devil ?
YummyCarrot - 7 days ago
@mimi lili wow wow
mimi lili
mimi lili - 7 days ago
@YummyCarrot :D I hope your on a bridge :D now gkys byeee devil
YummyCarrot - 8 days ago
mimi lili
mimi lili - 8 days ago
to quote the racist doctors " theirs no FEELINGS of discrimination "
yep I think John Oliver needs to make a segment on your racist ass!!
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