Many people have their personal physician preferences, whether they be male, female or simply someone with warm hands.
But if your main goal is staying alive, you’re better off with a woman.
A new study from Harvard researchers found that elderly hospitalized patients “cared for by women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after discharge” than those cared for by men, reports NPR.
How much your family doctor scared (or scarred) you during your formative years will no doubt influence your gut reaction to this news, but the findings are definitive. Around 32,000 fewer patients would die every year if male doctors were as effective as their female colleagues, the study’s authors told NPR.
How can this disparity exist? Especially when we're talking about the life or death of our parents and grandparents? Well, NPR enlisted married doctors Sarah-Anne Henning Schumann and John Henning Schumann to discuss the findings. And they clear it up pretty quickly.
“I'm a family doctor, trained to see adults and kids. You're an internist, trained to only see adults. And in both of our families, most of the time, our family members will reach out to you with their questions — even about kids,” says Sarah-Anne. “And my family, who attended my Harvard Medical School graduation, I'll remind you, seems to value your opinion more. They seem to be looking for opinions more from men.”
“I never really thought about that,” John replies.
No, he didn’t, but hopefully more medical professionals will think about it — and act.
Until then, instead of putting in a hospital request to get grandma a room with a better view, we suggest trying to get a female doctor.