Monday, February 27, 2017

Male or Female doctors? Is one gender better than the other?

I have written here before that I  prefer a woman physician to a male doctor. I feel that women  usually take more time and will let me talk and ask questions. Now, I find I am on the right track. Women physicians have a better record of keeping their patients alive. Not only that, their patients aren't readmitted to the  hospital as often. This article on
includes research on this subject:

The researchers estimated that if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as their female colleagues, there would be 32,000 fewer deaths each year among Medicare patients alone — a number comparable to the annual number of motor vehicle accident deaths nationally. The study was published online December 19, 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study included one million Medicare recipients 65 and over. They found that patients treated by a woman physician had a  four percent lower risk of dying prematurely. They had a five percent lower risk of being readmitted to a hospital within 30 days. 

Sadly, female physicians are often not paid as well as men and are often passed over for promotions. Only 1/3 of doctors are female, but women make up half of all US medical school graduates. I wonder what that says about the medical profession and medical schools. 

I would guess that women doctors pay more attention to guidelines and are more particular about details. I assume this because most of the  men I have known leave the details to their wives or secretaries. Could it  be that male doctors, like male CEOs, delegate to their lessor ranking people the important follow up on patients and don't  listen as well as women? 

Recently I met a male doctor who had read an MRI of my lower back. He was in the room with me about five minutes. He never sat down. He told me my MRI looked pretty good. But he thought he could alleviate  my pain with  an epidural, the same kind of injection given to pregnant women when they are in labor. He left the room after telling me I would be called to set up an appointment.  

I left there and drove home with questions piling up in my mind. Later I checked my messages on Patient Portal and found my diagnosis which included words like stenosis and steroid. Neither of those words were used by the doctor when he talked with me. 

Did he think I was ignorant of such medical terms? Did he think I would refuse the injection if he told me more details? Just the opposite is true. I have postponed having such an injection into my spine. Research has shown that this injection is not recognized by the FDA as safe, but it has become the latest trend among spine specialists who make mucho money on these procedures. They are said to be about 50 percent successful and are often repeated over and over with minimum results. The risks of becoming paralyzed or even dying are worth consideration and should be told to the patient. 

Why did this man not tell me there are risks? Why did he not tell me anything except "this is the injection given to pregnant women?" I hardly believe the ingredients in this cocktail are the same as given to a  pregnant woman in labor. 

Once again, I am not that happy with a male physician. One day, hopefully, women will be a bigger part of the medical world and I think the care we receive will be far better than what we have today. 
This is my opinion based on my personal experiences. 
What do you think? Do you prefer male or female, or does it  make any difference to you?


Abbie Taylor said...

You may be right about women doctors, but not all male physicians are bad.

Glenda Council Beall said...

I agree, Abbie. My cardiologist is a man and I like him very much. But I was surprised to read that patients of women doctors live longer than those of men doctors.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I think women doctors are more sympathetic. Men Doctors always seem rushed. My Mother had those injections for a really long time, they helped short term. spinal stenosis if that is what you have then you should be seen by a specialist with more answers than just injections:)

Glenda Council Beall said...

Far Side, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I saw my NP this week. She is sympathetic and empathetic for my problems and seems to understand the ageing woman much better than most men doctors.
I am finding I can take over the counter meds with one prescription pain med and keep the pain in check most of the day. I will put the injection on the back burner for now. Stenosis is what my diagnosis is, lumbar region, but I plan to work on strengthening my core muscles and see if that will help.