Do Women Make Better Doctors?

Some research suggests that the answer is yes. But why?
Some interesting theories that have been teased out of the data: Patients are less deferential to female doctors, speaking up, interrupting, questioning, leading to better outcomes. Another theory: women doctors, on average, are better listeners than their male peers.
I have no idea what the answer is; I’ll leave it up to the researchers to run their regressions on the data. But I do know one thing: the best doctors are the doctors who listen to their patients and get the most information from them.

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May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

With Memorial Day approaching, and Americans driving to vacation spots, we will soon see the busiest driving season and, unfortunately, the most roadway accidents. Also with summer comes people pulling motorcycles out of the garage to get out and do some riding.
That’s why May is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
In 2008, 5,290 motorcyclists lost their lives in fatal highway crashes. Motorcycle riders are thirty-seven more likely than auto drivers to be involved in a fatal accident.
As an auto driver, the biggest thing you can do to promote motorcycle safety “Look twice, save a life.” The most common motorcycle accident occurs when an auto driver fails to spot a motorcyclist until it’s too late.
As a biker, the best thing you can do for your safety is to wear a DOT-compliant helmet at all times. Wearing one increases your odds of survivability in a serious accident by nearly forty percent.

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New Journal Article Provides More Support For The Use Of Checklists To Reduce Medical Malpractice

If you watch House, M.D., you probably get the impression that most medical errors result from doctors or other medical professionals simply not being brilliant enough to put the puzzle pieces together.
However, an astonishing amount of medical malpractice is caused by simple attentional errors committed by medical professionals – doctors or nurses missing or forgetting a simple step in a process because they’re tired, distracted and, well, human.
I’ve blogged before about Dr. Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto and efforts by the World Health Organization and Britain’s National Health Service to implement checklist protocols for surgeries and other procedures. Unfortunately, this effort is not making as much headway in the United States.
Now, from the Archives of Internal Medicine, comes another article highlighting how the use of checklists could help reduce medical malpractice.
The article, entitled “Association of Interruptions With Increased Risk And Severity of Medication Administration Errors,” shows that each time a nurse is interrupted in the course of administering a medication it increases his chance of making an error. The more times a nurse is distracted or interrupted in administering the medicine, the greater the likelihood of error.
Only about 20 percent of the time are medications correctly administered, although most of the time the errors cause no harm. In approximately two percent of the observed medication administrations, however, nurses committed critical errors.
What’s the solution for distracted nurses? It’s not better education or more advanced degrees, more professionalization. It’s more checklists!