Bias Laid Bare

Female surgeons faced harsher critique for mistakes and minimized credit for successes in a recent study illustrating gender bias in medicine.

Harvard University’s Heather Sarsons measured doctors’ patient referrals to male and female surgeons before and after either a good event (a high-risk patient survived a procedure) or a bad one (a patient died shortly after). Surgeons had similar “before” referral rates, but after a bad event, referrals for women fell by 34% while remaining unchanged for men. After a good event, referrals to male surgeons more than doubled while females saw only a 72% increase.

One dire consequence of gender bias: Patients are referred to less-skilled male surgeons over more accomplished females.

The Economist

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