A new study investigating sex differences in medico-legal action against doctors has found that male doctors are almost two and a half times more likely to face legal action than female doctors.
Although some studies have previously been conducted investigating sex differences in medico-legal action against doctors, none have examined the matter on a global scale. As a result, researchers from University College of London (UCL) analyzed the results of 32 studies, involving a total of 40,246 cases of medico-legal action that represented a global population of 4,054,551 people.
Not only was the likelihood of medico-legal action being taken against male doctors two and a half times greater than it was for female doctors, but this difference between the sexes was found to have remained consistent over the past 15 years, as well as across different countries.
This particular finding suggests the idea male doctors are more likely than female doctors to experience medico-legal action as there are more practicing male doctors is inaccurate. If this had been the case, the difference between male and female doctors would have reduced over time as the number of female doctors increased.
According a study published earlier in the year, neurosurgeons operating in the US conduct additional procedures and tests on patients more out of fear of malpractice lawsuits than for the benefit of the patient.
While there is likely to be several complex causes behind this difference, the researchers conclude, the first step that their study has achieved is to recognize that there is a difference.