Take a moment to think about your experiences with doctors over the years. In your opinion, who do you think would be better at keeping patients alive -- men or women?
A recent study out of Harvard University cross-examined medicare hospice patients of men and women doctors from 2011 to 2014. While the gender of the doctors was a variable, that was as far as the differences went. All doctors worked at the same hospitals with patients who were facing the same end-of-life challenges.
So, which gender had more patients that died or needed to be readmitted to the hospital after release? The answer might surprise you.
Historically, men have dominated the medical field. In fact, it wasn't until 1949 that the first woman doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, graduated from medical school. Even today, many say that the responsibilities of home life and child-rearing distract women from being good physicians.
But, surprise! According to the study, women doctors are far better than men at keeping their hospice patients alive. It's estimated that "approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year."
The exact reason for the disparity is not known, although earlier studies hold some clues. Researchers agree that women are more likely than men to emphasize prevention counseling and suggest prevention tests such as mammograms and other types of cancer screenings. As a result, far fewer of their patients die or are readmitted to hospice after release.
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