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Why having a doctor of the same gender can improve your medical care

| Mar 3, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Do you prefer seeing doctors of your own gender? Many people feel more comfortable sharing personal health concerns with and being disrobed in front of a doctor who shares their gender.

If you’re a woman, having a female doctor may improve your outcome if you have a medical condition. It may even save your life.

Do people care whether they have a male or female doctor?

In a 2018 YouGov survey of more than 7,000 Americans, 46% of women said they felt more comfortable with a female doctor. A small percentage (6%) preferred male physicians.

Younger people (between 18 and 24) of both genders were more likely than older individuals to have a gender preference for their doctors. Interestingly, 44% of both young men and women said they were more comfortable with a woman.

Are female doctors better for women’s heart health?

For some medical conditions, like heart disease and heart attacks, women fare better with female doctors, according to the Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS). That’s because they feel more comfortable their symptoms and concerns with them.

Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women. However, many women don’t recognize that they’re having a heart attack until it’s too late.

Part of the issue is that a heart attack can present with very different symptoms for women than for men. People of both genders commonly experience chest pain or pressure while having a heart attack. However, women (and the men in their lives) need to be aware that a woman who is having a heart attack may also have symptoms including:

  • Pain in the upper back, shoulder, neck and/or jaw
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting

Of course, those symptoms could be indicative of myriad other conditions. However, it’s essential that women not hesitate to tell their doctors about those symptoms and that their doctors (regardless of gender) not overlook the possibility of a heart attack.

Even a speedy and accurate diagnosis can’t guarantee that a patient will have a good outcome. However, if a loved one has suffered harm or worse because of a missed, delayed or inaccurate diagnosis, it may be worthwhile to determine whether they have a medical malpractice case.