When it comes to picking a doctor, do you choose one that is of your own binary gender?
Do seek out a male if you're a male and a female if you're a female?
Do you go as far as to seek out a gay doctor?
A recent Harvard study may throw your selection process out the window. What the institution found was that:
[Female] doctors who care for elderly hospitalized patients get better results. Patients cared for by women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after discharge.
But the latest work, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, is the first to show a big difference in the result that matters most to patients: life or death.
The study's authors estimate "that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year." – npr.org
There are many reasons this may be true, but as of now, they are all speculative. In the recent npr.org posting, they actually asked a married heterosexual couple about the results. Both husband and wife are doctors.
Sarah-Anne: Everyone is going to want to know what is it about women that leads to these better outcomes. I think it's going to be hard to figure out exactly.
John: Do you think people that read or hear about this study will take home the message that they need to choose female doctors?
Sarah-Anne: Some will no doubt oversimplify it to that. What I take away is that if communication is the key, as I suspect, then we need to better select and train medical students and residents to exhibit these qualities. – npr.org
I loved this interview between the couple. It is definitely worth a listen and you can hear the almost 5 minute conversation below. Some of the exchange can be found in text form over at npr.org
I currently am looking for a new doctor. When I was in Maine, I went with a gay male doctor that was well known in the small gay community. He was fine, a great guy actually, but then I moved to Florida. Will I consider a female doctor because of this study or will I go and look for a gay male one thinking he may know more about me than other doctors? It's a tough question. I may have to revert back to my gay politician stance … just because he's gay and running for office, it doesn't mean he;s the best candidate.
Are you going to alter your approach for looking for a doctor in the future?
Do you have an "opposite sex" doctor now?
Do you first look for an LGBT doctor and go from there?
We understand that yes, there are more than one gender and more questions about LGBT health issues, but for now, this research is dealing with male vs female doctors.