MONDAY, Aug. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) - Women are significantly more likely to survive a heart attack if their emergency physician is a woman, new research reveals. This statistic does not signal well to gender equality in medicine or young women considering the specialty-and it may have even darker implications for patients. For one, survival rates rose in emergency departments that had a higher overall percentage of female doctors, even if the attending doctor was male. But the reality is very different, with heart attacks affecting a large spectrum of the population, including thousands of seemingly healthy women every year.
"Their chances were also improved if treated by a male doctor who had a lot of female colleagues in his team", the BBC reports. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that female heart attack patients are more likely to die when treated by a man rather than a woman. "Still, she adds, the study raises many troubling questions about the treatment of women in the ER, "like the concern there's a systematic bias where male physicians are not listening to female patients" complaints as readily as [those of] a man".
Mortality rates for women who undergo a traumatic event like a heart attack are higher than men.
"More than 500,000 heart attack patients admitted to hospital emergency departments in Florida between 1991 and 2010, female patients treated by male physicians were less likely to survive than patients of either gender treated by female physicians or male patients treated by male physicians", stated in the press release.
Although it is evident that male physicians are better at taking care of men with heart attacks than women, "it's harder to tell if female physicians have no such gender disparity because their numbers are so small", Dr. Jha said.
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Lead scientist Dr Seth Carnahan, from Washington University, in St Louis, said: "Our work corroborates prior research showing that female doctors tend to produce better patient outcomes than male doctors".
Further analysis showed that men and women had similar chances of survival when they saw female doctors.
To put some numbers on these differences, the survival rate for men treated by female doctors is 88.1 percent, compared with 86.6 percent for women treated by male doctors-a reduction of 1.5 percentage points.
Female doctors may also simply be performing at least some parts of the job better than their male counterparts do. And, according to a new study, that's partly because of how women are treated-and the gender of the doctors who treat them. "It could be you have spillover between physicians", he says.
These findings represent a "fundamental catch-22 for medical providers and female patients", wrote the authors. Or you have assistance: "A female colleague cues him into what's going on".
The findings are reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.