According to a recent survey in the Journal of the American Medical Association, male physicians age 55 or older are twice as likely to be sued for medical negligence as younger women doctors. This survey and other similar findings are the basis of a recent program on Radio Health Journal – “Do Women Make Better Doctors?”
In order to get the perspective of the legal community on whether or not females in fact make better doctors, Radio Health Journal interviewed Chicago medical malpractice attorney Robert Kreisman. Kreisman explained that in his experience, most medical malpractice lawsuits arise out of a failure to communicate between the patient and physician. While sometimes this communication failure might simply result in the patient feeling negatively about his medical care, in other instances it could lead to a misdiagnosis or medical negligence.
Kreisman generalizes that “most times that I’ve heard from potential clients about a physician that they feel chose not to communicate well with the patient or family, it tends to be a male.” However, the show also suggests that perhaps more male doctors are being sued not because women are necessarily better doctors, but for other reasons. For example, traditionally men have dominated high-risk medical fields, such as surgery or obstetrics, while women have generally remained in fields that don’t get sued as often, like pediatrics or family practice.
The radio show also includes interviews with various medical professionals who explain a growing change in the medical profession to become more relationship-centered care, i.e. relating to the patient as a whole person. With this shift towards more patient-centered care, patients’ expectations for their physicians is also changing, with patients now expecting that their physicians will be warm and approachable. And whether or not this is factually the case, there is the general sense that women tend to be more nurturing then men.
To demonstrate this trend, the radio show refers to a study which shows that patients think male and female physicians should behave differently. For example, patients think a female physician will focus more on socio-emotional issues, while male physicians will focus more on the technical aspects. This would explain while patients, regardless of gender, tend to favor female physicians over male physicians.
So while females might not inherently make better physicians, they might be viewed as being better at practicing medicine in a more nurturing way than their male counterparts. And given the growing trend for medicine to treat the whole patient, not just the disease, this tendency might make patients view female doctors as better at patient-centered care than male doctors.
Here is the link to the interview, “Do Women Make Better Doctors?”
Radio Health Journal is an award-winning public affairs reporting journal on current issues in health and medicine that features leading health experts. It has provided listeners with award-winning coverage on health issues since 1992. This program, and similar programing offered by Radio Health Journal, was syndicated throughout more than 450 American radio stations.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice matters for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding areas, including Rolling Meadows, Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, Lincolnshire, Elmhurst, and Arlington Heights.
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