Health Implications Due to the Lack of Female Emergency Room DoctorsSeptember 12, 2018
According to research from the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of fatality in men and women in the United States. Unfortunately, women are less likely to survive a heart attack than men. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota examined the health outcomes of female heart attack patients who have been treated by a male emergency room doctor versus a female doctor. They found that female heart attack patients may have a greater chance of survival if they are treated by a female emergency room doctor.
Like many other specialties in the medical field, there are significantly more male emergency room doctors than female doctors. In fact, in the United States, only 24 percent of emergency room doctors are female. This could have devastating implications on female heart attack patients, as data from the research shows that female heart attack patients who are treated by a male doctor have a 12 percent greater risk of fatality than male patients.
The Disparity Between Male and Female Doctors
Researchers looked at heart attack cases from every emergency room (ER) in the state of Florida between 1991 and 2010, using a Florida Agency for Health Care Administration database. They organized the 500,000-plus cases into the following four categories:
- Male doctors treating male patients
- Male doctors treating female patients
- Female doctors treating male patients
- Female doctors treating female patients
Researchers found that each group was statistically indistinguishable, except for the group of male doctors treating female patients. For example, female patients who come to the ER suffering from a heart attack suffer fatal injuries approximately 12.4 percent of the time when treated by a male doctor, whereas heart attack patients do not survive in the ER roughly 11.9 percent of the time overall. In other words, approximately one out of every 66 women with heart attacks do not survive if treated by a male ER doctor, compared to a female doctor. According to the co-author of the study, these fatalities are somehow linked to the way male doctors treat female patients.
The study raises some troubling questions about how women are treated in the ER, including whether physicians take female patients’ complaints seriously, if women are slower to be diagnosed, or whether medical literature favors men. Interestingly, another study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that patients of female physicians had better mortality rates, regardless of gender. This could be because female doctors tend to spend more time with patients, which may help them pick up on some of the subtler signs of a heart attack.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Medical Negligence
If you or a loved one suffered a heart attack and you believe that your emergency room physician was negligent in some way, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will thoroughly review your medical records and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. We will not stop fighting for you until justice has been served. To schedule a free confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.