Study shows better patient outcomes with female physicians

The gender of primary care physicians for elderly Arizona hospital patients could influence the likelihood of death or hospital readmission. A research team from Harvard analyzed the Medicare records of over 1.5 million patients age 65 and older. The data for people receiving non-surgical care revealed that 11.49 percent of people cared for by male physicians died within one month of treatment. The one-month death rate for the patients of female physicians was 11.07 percent.

Women doctors also produced slightly better results with fewer patients returning to the hospital within one month of treatment. Among those attended by female physicians, 15.02 percent needed to go back to the hospital. For the patients of male physicians, the rate of readmission was 15.57 percent.

The senior author of the study considered the small differences important. The researcher concluded that approximately 32,000 lives, roughly the number of people killed in car accidents each year in the U.S., could be saved annually if male physicians produced the same results as their female colleagues. This information added to the findings of earlier studies that compared male and female physicians. Other research showed that women gave more time to their patients and made inquiries about their emotional status and social circumstances.

A person who has received inadequate medical care regardless of the gender of the physician will often suffer a worsened condition that requires aggressive and expensive treatment. People who have been harmed in such a manner may want to meet with an attorney to see if filing a medical malpractice lawsuit could be an advisable step to take.