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Could Having a Male Doctor Increase Your Risk of Death?

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. A recent article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, found that women were more likely to die from a heart attack when their doctors were male, than when their doctors were female. When male and female patients were treated by female doctors, the mortality rates were the same. The New York Times reported on a similar study by Harvard that found that female patients were more likely to die when treated by male doctors. 

But why is this the case?

In recent months, we've heard more reports about how doctors sometimes minimize, ignore, or discount women's pain. The Times reports that women doctors simply spend more time listening to their patients. This extra time spent listening rather than judging and acting may be contributing to the better outcomes. Female doctors spent on average, 10 percent more time listening to their patients, than male doctors. In another study, it was found that female doctors waited longer to interrupt their patients than male doctors. That extra time spent listening to a patient's concerns can make a big difference in diagnosis and even outcome. Other patients claim that female doctors are more likely to see their patient's complaints as credible, whether they are male or female. 

Another issue is that the symptoms of heart attack in men and women differ. Many women suffering from a heart attack won't be experiencing chest pain, for example. Male doctors may rule out a heart attack too soon if there is no chest pain present. If the woman experiences pain in her abdomen, for example, doctors might assume it is a reproductive issue. This can lead to serious misdiagnosis.


The study's results have had some doctors reconsidering how they handle the soft side of patient care. Some male doctors have noted that they now conscientiously plan to spend more time listening.

Yet, all of this is speculation. It isn't entirely clear why more women survive their heart attacks when treated by female doctors. More studies need to be done about the nature of misdiagnosis and the role that gender may or may not play in it. 

So, should women seek out female doctors? At the end of the day, the study is just one among many. The most important questions to ask yourself is not whether your doctor is male or female, but whether you trust your doctor and whether your doctor listens to your concerns. If you trust your doctor, one study alone shouldn't be cause to change physicians. 

Finally, patients should understand that if they are misdiagnosed or face medical malpractice that leads to injury, they have the right to sue. The Bowling Law Firm is a New Orleans, Louisiana medical malpractice law firm who works closely with individuals and families who have suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis. If you have been hurt, consider speaking to our lawyers today. Misdiagnosis and medical malpractice can be tough to identify and some doctors may not always be willing to admit to their mistakes. This is why you need a qualified medical malpractice lawyer on your side to help you understand your rights. Visit us at https://www.lawbowling.com/ to learn more today.

The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation 

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050 

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112 

Phone: 504-613-4561 

Toll Free: 877-757-3539

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