Women Kill Fewer Medicare Patients Than Men

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According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, Medicare patients who are hospitalized fare differently depending on whether their doctor is male or female:

The biggest difference is in the two sickest groups of patients: there’s a distinctly higher rate of death among male doctors. And while the difference may look small, it suggests that male doctors are responsible for 32,000 more deaths per year among Medicare patients. The Washington Post helpfully points out that this poses a rather stark contrast to the fact that male doctors are paid an average of $20,000 more than female doctors.

The sample size of this study is very large—about 1.5 million patients—and the authors claim to have controlled for everything under the sun. I’ll let others judge that. In the meantime, remember to always ask for a female doctor and never start a hospital stay on a Friday. If you don’t have a choice—and you probably won’t—then all I can do is wish you well.

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