It is already known that heart attack symptoms are harder to identify if the patient is a female and previous research has suggested that female doctors are better at caring for heart attack victims.
A recently published study suggests that women who suffer a heart attack have better chances of survival if they are treated by female emergency physicians compared to male emergency physicians. It is also mentioned that male physicians who already treated women or have more female colleagues seem to be more successful when they treat women.
While the study is certainly interesting, it manages to raise more questions than answers, since the specific causes cannot be identified.
According to the main author of the study, Brad Greenwood, it is important to understand and keep in mind that both the patient community and the physician pool are and should be diverse. It estimated that more than 17 million people die every year due to cardiovascular disease, mostly heart attacks, and stroke, according to official data published by the World Health Organization. Every 40 seconds, an American suffers a heart attack. Major signs for both genders include severe chest pains, tiredness, nausea and body discomfort and shortness of breath.
Data from over 580,000 patients was analyzed for the study. It was collected in Florida between 191 and 2010 and it was offered by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration.
It was revealed that gender concordance decreased the number of fatal cases by 5.4% in comparison to the mortality baseline used in the study. Women treated by male physicians were also least likely to survive, compared to patents of both genders treated by a female doctor.
Multiple factors may limit the validity of the study. The patient outcomes come exclusively from Florida and in many cases, after the ER doctor, the patient is treated by another one or even more than one doctor at a time. Further research is needed to prove if the study has any value in the long run.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.