As a male, I fully understand that I compared with females I am more challenged in areas of common sense, finding things (except for beer), understanding relationships and of course responding to criticism about my physical prowess. And yes I know that what I just wrote is a huge generalization. Still I had held out hopes, despite the presence of large quantities of testosterone within my body, that as a physician I would compare well with my female colleagues.
Based on a study from Harvard School of Public Health, my hopes might just be dashed. These intrepid researchers analyzed medical records from an impressive 1.5 million hospital visits involving Medicare patients. Those patients treated by female physicians had a 0.4 % less risk of dying than patients treated by males.
Really? Only 0.4%- no big deal right?
Well, if you were to assume that all American doctors were female, than about 32,000 fewer patients would die each year! Furthermore, any treatment that lowers mortality (risk of dying) by 0.5% would be considered good.
The question which begs to be answered is why? No one knows for sure but there are some theories. Women doctors have been shown to spend more time with their patients. They are also more likely to provide preventive care and follow recognized clinical guidelines. In other words, they are not in a such a rush to make it home for NFL night and don’t act like cowboys as much.
Does this mean that you should only see female physicians? No, certainly not as there are excellent doctors out there both male and female.