You are less likely to die if you have a female doctor
Claims a study released in “JAMA Internal Medicine,” on December 19. Over 1.5 million elderly patients, over the age of 65, were studied after they were hospitalized, and it was discovered that if they were attended by a female physician, they were not only less likely to die, but also much less likely to be readmitted to hospital later on.
Most surprisingly, it was the most severely sick patients that were more unlikely to die. In fact, it is estimated that 32000 less patients would die every year if male doctors achieved matching outcomes to female doctors.
Ironic pay gap
Despite female doctors being paid 8 percent less than male doctors, and being less likely to become medical professors, female doctors still bring a higher standard of care to patients.
The disproportion in earnings has been blamed on life events like women taking maternity leave, and child-rearing, leading to them being more likely to work part-time hours. But the historic tradition of women being healers seems to be playing out in the clinics and the hospitals, despite what would be perceived as a financial handicap.
What do Women Doctors do better?
Researchers claim that this, combined with data from past studies, shows that female doctors are more likely to follow evidence based practice, adhere to clinical guidelines, and provide psychosocial counselling and preventative care.
They also show more superior communication skills, and their bedside manner is considerably more nurturing. They also invest more time with patients when they are treating them.
Male and Female Stereotypes
There are also persistent cultural stereotypes that assume men are naturally more intelligent, and their advice should be automatically respected without question. When doctors ask patients to discuss options, and plan decisions with them, patients are less likely to engage in this with a male doctor, instead choosing to trust them implicitly with the control of their care.
On the contrary, with a woman doctor, the patient is more willing to explore their care options, and more accurate decision making can result from this shared patient-doctor responsibility.
Female doctors can also be mistaken for nurses, which is also stereotypically a female job. And while a few are insulted, many others take it as a compliment. They understand that the patients want to feel nurtured by them, so as well as make a standard patient visit they will also offer to do tender things for them, like bring them something to drink or an extra pillow. This extra ingredient of empathy has undeniable healing qualities to it.
Can Male Doctors do anything to save more patients lives?
It as been suggested that all doctor’s earnings should be paid according to their performance outcomes. If the life saving qualities and practices which are being exhibited by women doctors were used as a scale for performance reward. Male doctors could become more conscious of exhibiting them also.
Not only should this repair the gender pay disparity in physician earnings, it should also mean that the quality of care for patients, and their chances of surviving their illnesses, will be radically improved.