Many people are passionate about their preference for same-sex physicians, and today we have another factoid to add to the debate: Fewer female doctors are involved in misconduct cases.

University of Melbourne researchers analyzed 485 cases in which doctors were found guilty of misconduct and disciplined in Australia and New Zealand between 2000 and 2009, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. They found that one in 1500 doctors are disciplined for misconduct in the two countries, and 91% of those doctors were male. The researchers then adjusted the numbers to take into account the gender mix of all doctors and female doctors working fewer hours on average, and found that male doctors are four times more likely to be disciplined.

Ob-gyns and psychiatrists were most likely to be caught behaving badly. As for why the doctors were disciplined, 24% were found guilty of sexual misconduct, 21% for illegal prescribing, 9% had physically harmed a patient, and 8% of the cases involved death. In most cases, the doctors were disciplined even though their actions didn't injure their patient psychically or psychologically, so it seems there's a chance you'll emerge unscathed even if you have a crappy doctor.

While the study only examined Australian doctors, previous research by the American Medical Association found that male doctors are twice as likely as female doctors to be sued for medical malpractice. Of course, most male doctors are able to resist the urge to behave inappropriately, but this information may be helpful when explaining to your mom that she'll probably be okay if she sees the practice's female doctor, even if that one woman she saw in 1978 had a bad bedside manner.

Female Doctors Are Better Behaved: Study [Sydney Morning Herald]
Medical Liability: By Late Career, 61% Of Doctors Have Been Wued [Ama-assn.org]

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