Thursday, December 29, 2016

Do female doctors increase a patient's longevity?

I was under the impression that any doctor - male or female - with whom the patient is comfortable goes a long way towards his/her recovery and longevity. At this juncture, I'm reminded of the gentle Dr K Narayana Pai who used to look after the family as my grandfather was a good friend of his and his elder son and my maman were classmates, friends and did all things - mischievous and non mischievous - together! A word from him - the soft spoken doctor that he was - was enough to send one's medical worries away.

And then, of course, was the then Aryavaidyan of the Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala. Another 'medical god' to whom we'd easy access - the time used to be told and he used to meet us at the appointed hour despite a waiting crowd - thanks to his friendship with my grandfather! I used to be fond of the 'arishtam' because it was palatable and sweet....the 'kashaayam', I abhorred!

Then, of course, I'd come across a number of doctors like Vijayashankar with an infectious sense of humour, Castro look alike and 'big turkey' Firdausi Mehta(I was the 'li'l turkey' in our group!), the ever happy Sasindranath, the happy-go-lucky Guruswamy Vishwanath, the all rounder sportsman yet superb Chandrasekhar Joshi, the quietly efficient and someone whom I miss, the late Sanjay(Granny) Goil, the bindass Pawan Sarin, my classmate, Savio George who's an embodiment of fitness  and his friend, the quiet yet superb Subramonia Iyer and of course, the razor sharp homeopath, Maheenkutty...........the list is endless! I've also come across some very fine doctors thanks to the ongoing treatment of Lekha's ailment of SLE beginning with the medical specialist, the diminutive Bhattacharya(Who'd actually expressed the doubt about the lupus phenomenon changing my outlook towards military doctors, overnight),  the widely respected and elderly Jacob Kurien, the late Achuthan Kannampilly who also was a dear friend, the quiet yet intense immunologist, Ashok Kumar, the brilliant Ramachandran, the ever-focused-despite-logging-long-working hours Padmanabha Shenoy and the friendly, boy-next-door-imaged yet cool Jyoshid.....again, the list is endless. And how can I forget the well read Mathew Abraham, my mom's doctor, whom she was quite fond off? The common thread is their single minded dedication to the profession, perseverance and their genuine feelings for their patients.

Did I wander away from the subject of discussion? No, I was under the firm belief that gender had nothing to do with a patient's well being or longevity after such a varied experience and am trying to validate this new input against that backdrop! So this new input, from a team of Harvard University researchers, is indeed an eye opener. According to their report, "Elderly patients treated by female physicians are less likely to die within 30 days of admission or to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge, than those cared for by male physicians. The gender of the physician was particularly significant for the sickest patients".

For the study, the team had analysed data from more than a million medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older and hospitalised with a medical condition.

The team goes on to say that the reasons were that the female doctors were more likely to:-

      * Adhere to clinical guidelines.
      * Provide preventive care more often.
      * Use more patient-centred communication.
      * Perform standardised examinations and
      * Provide more psychosocial counseling.

And I'd like to add that the female doctor took on the role of the 'mother', albeit, for that short while!


Really interesting piece of information! And I dedicate this post to all the lady doctors that are my close friends!      

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