Over the years, nearly 77 to be exact, many people have asked me how to pick a doctor. I have usually told them to pick out a physician who has the worst bedside manner, is abrupt, and is generally an unpleasant sort. Then if you find that person has a yearlong waiting line to get in to see him or her, you know they must be good. All kidding aside, I am going to give you the results of some studies that may make you a little more cognizant about important facts when picking out your doctor.
The following is from the New York Times and written by Tara Parker Pope on August 14, 2018. This is all new to me but as a male physician, and from experience, I sincerely believe what she is writing about. There is a statement in the book The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Sterns that says “If you educate a man, you have educated an individual. If you educate a woman, you have educated a nation.”
Studies show that female doctors tend to listen more, and their patients — both male and female — tend to fare better. Does gender matter when choosing a doctor? Listen up all of you. The life you save may be yours.
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.
Earlier research supports the findings. 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.
Other studies have also found meaningful differences in how women and men practice medicine. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed a number of studies that focused on how doctors communicate. They found that female primary care doctors simply spent more time listening to patients than did their male colleagues. But listening comes with a cost. Doctors who were women spent, on average, two extra minutes, or about 10 percent more time per visit, creating scheduling delays and putting them an hour or more behind their male colleagues by the end of the day.
Isn’t it amazing we are dealing with people’s lives and it still gets down to counting beans?
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist whose book Women Are Not Small Men, helped start a national conversation about heart disease in women, said the research should not be used to disparage male doctors, but should instead empower patients to find doctors who listen.
This is good information for all of us and especially for someone my age. We may not get second chances, however; I always say, “As long as God wants me here, I am indestructible.” I bring females with me to Central and South America and Africa. Every time I will pick a female over a male. And that is not because I am a male, the females are just better.
God bless you all America. Rick Redalen, MD, Maverick Doctor.
Pick up a copy of my book “God’s Tiniest Angel and the Last Unicorn,” available on Amazon.
Dr. Rick is a retired American physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has done mission work around the country and the world. He is now on a mission to improve healthcare in America. Visit maverickdoctor.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.