Should you choose a female doctor?

Whether your doctor is male, or female could be a matter of life or death, a new study suggests. The study, of more than 580,000 heart patients admitted over two decades to emergency rooms in Florida, found that mortality rates for both women and men were lower when the treating physician was female. And women who were treated by male doctors were the least likely to survive. In 2016, a Harvard study of more than 1.5 million hospitalized Medicare patients found that when patients were treated by female physicians, they were less likely to die or be readmitted to the hospital over a 30-day period than those cared for by male doctors. The difference in mortality was slight — about half a percentage point — but when applied to the entire Medicare population, it translates to 32,000 fewer deaths.” The difference in the study is 0.5%. Is this a basis to suggest female doctors are better doctors? The difference is very small but when large numbers of patients are considered 32,000 fewer deaths seems like a lot. I’m all for equality for women but I don’t agree you should big yourself up without good reason. Women doctors in the studies were found to have 10% longer consultations with patients. Women are traditionally believed to be better at listening and in communication . Maybe this has helped their patients. But could it also lead to more burn out in women doctors? The “National Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2018,” published by Medscape found that “48 percent of female physicians reported burnout, compared with 38 percent of their male peers”. Women can do sometimes be left with all the jobs – doctor, mother, wife etc. Why wouldn’t we be stressed? Women traditionally carry the burden of childcare. Medicine is a particularly difficult path for women with career demands Are male doctors only good because they are in touch with their feminine side, all that caring, empathy, gentle hands etc. Is it a “girly” job? Are female physicians more evidence-based, as a few studies suggest? Or is it that there are differences in how female and doctors communicate with patients that allow female doctors to be more effective? I would like to have a competent doctor look after me. In this era of gender fluidity where all the norms we were raised with have gone out the door maybe we need to stop stereotyping ourselves. And you are lucky to have any doctor at all. Doctors are disappearing. General Practice has become an unattractive career for both male and female medics. Long hours and low pay have made it that way. Patients’ expectations now reflect the larger 24/7 insta-culture of wanting everything now. Gender should not be the issue.