There may be yet another reason to love Meredith Grey. A study by Harvard doctors shows that on average, senior citizen patients treated by female doctors are less likely to die than those treated by male doctors, according to The Los Angeles Times.
According to the study’s abstract, research has shown differences between male and female medical practices such as women being more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and administer evidence-based practices. But this study wanted to find out if patients actually had better outcomes—like not dying, for example—when they were treated by a physician of one gender or the other.
The study looked at records of Medicare patients across the country and found that patients treated by women had a 10.82 percent chance of death within 30 days while those treated by men had a 11.49 percent chance of death within the same amount of time.
Across numerous types of illnesses and patients the results remained consistent—women physicians always higher success rates than male physicians, by an average of around one percentage point. Although this difference may seem irrelevant, it’s actually statistically significant when you realize that the researchers analyzed more nearly 1.5 million hospitalizations from 2001-2014.
The study found that overall, Medicare patients in hospitals were 4 percent less likely to die if they were treated by women. With over 10 million Medicare patients hospitalized every year, that means 32,000 lives could be saved, according to the L.A. Times.
Of course, we can't immediately ban all men and only allow women to become doctors. But the medical community definitely needs to figure out what's causing these differences, so that men can reach the level of women doctors. This study also shows that female doctors should absolutely be getting paid the same amount as male doctors—the idea that they're not, when they're actually better at treating patients effectively, is absurd.