Death rates 'are lower' with female surgeons
Patients operated on by female surgeons have slightly lower death rates than those treated by men, research suggests.
A new study in the British Medical Journal found a small but significant reduction in death rates of 12pc for those patients treated by women compared with men. But there was no difference between the sexes when it came to patients experiencing readmission to hospital or complications within 30 days.
Researchers, including from the University of Toronto, analysed data for more than 100,000 patients undergoing one of 25 surgical procedures in a hospital in Ontario, Canada. The patients were matched for age, sex, range of conditions and income, while surgeons were matched for age, experience and number of operations performed in the past year.
The authors suggested one possible reason for the difference may be that women deliver care that is more in line with guidelines, is more focused on the patient, and involves better communication.
But they said more research was needed.
In an editorial, Clare Marx and Derek Alderson, from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said they were not convinced that the sex of the surgeon would "emerge as an important determinant of a good outcome for patients having surgery".