Can You Relate? Women Doctors: The Life-Saving Cure

by Ally S. '20
Marlborough Matter(s) is a science newsletter distributed to the Marlborough community detailing the most important science news happening in our world and highlighting the on-campus STEM happenings.

Doctors at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have recently suggested that approximately 32,000 lives could be saved if female doctors treated more patients. In a trial that observed patient survival rates in the first 30 days, researchers found that patients who were treated by male doctors had a higher morality rate than those treated by female doctors. This observation was true in patients with acute kidney failure (12.54% mortality rate with female doctors vs. 13.3% with male doctors), irregular heart rhythm (5.08% vs. 6.02%), and pneumonia (10.11% vs. 11.03%).

To ensure their results were valid, Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa and his team of researchers analyzed data and outcomes from more than 1.5 million hospitalized patients. Researchers observed and compared several different scenarios, such as: looking at outcomes from hospitals without intensive care units and from patients treated by female hospitalists—doctors who only treat hospitalized patients. The study even extended their sample size and looked at patient patient survival rates after 60 days instead of 30. In all cases, patients who were treated by female doctors maintained a higher survival rate.

Such a discovery is crucial for women in STEM—reinforcing their significant contributions to the field and providing yet another reason to end the wage gap and give female doctors the equal pay they deserve.

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