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Why do female patients have longer wait times?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

In some cases, wait times in an emergency room or a hospital can be critical. A patient who has to wait even slightly longer could suffer much more severe ramifications or could even pass away from their condition. While it is true that doctors can’t always respond immediately, due to staffing issues and patient levels, they should strive to keep wait times low and help those who need it most urgently.

Concerningly, though, some studies have found that wait times are longer for women. For instance, one researcher looked into how long women had to wait for treatment if they complained about chest pain. When compared to men who had the same symptoms, women spent 11 more minutes waiting for treatment.

Why does this happen?

In some cases, this happens because doctors don’t understand what symptoms they are looking for. With heart attacks specifically, women tend to have much different symptoms than men. This can lead some doctors to believe that a woman is just having a panic attack or an anxiety episode, for instance, when she’s actually having a heart attack. The doctor doesn’t realize how urgent it is and makes her wait.

This can especially be a problem if the doctor is a man. They are simply considering the situation from their own perspective, looking for the symptoms that they expect – and that they themselves would experience. But a female patient may have vastly different symptoms. Would she benefit from seeing a female physician? Does she simply need someone who understands what’s happening in a way that a male doctor may not?

These are important questions to ask after a delayed diagnosis. Those who have suffered harm due to medical malpractice must be aware of their legal options.