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Gender Gap In Kidney Transplants?
By Alejandra Owens, January 28, 2009 03:19 PM
This can't be good. The New York Times reports that new research at John Hopkins University shows that women are less likely to receive kidney transplants than men. This effects older women primarily, even though they recuperate just as well or better than older men after the surgery.
This was no small study; they took data from a list of 563,197 patients who developed end-stage kidney disease from 2000 to 2005, calculating the likelihood they'd get on the transplant list. And while younger women were just as likely to be on a list, they started dropping off the older they got:
They found that women 45 and younger were as likely as men to be placed on a transplant waiting list. But as women aged, their chances of getting on the list dropped, getting worse with each decade, said the lead author, Dr. Dorry Segev, a transplant surgeon at Johns Hopkins. By the time women were 46 to 55, they were 3 percent less likely to be put on the transplant list. They were 15 percent less likely to be placed on the list at ages 56 to 65; 29 percent less likely at 66 to 75; and 59 percent less likely to be listed by the time they were 75 or older, Dr. Segev said.
The researcher's suggestion behind this is that caregivers, family members and even the patients themselves presume women are weaker than they actually are. I think doctors have to be accountable as well; after all, they're the experts. Either way, to think a stereotype could have this significant of an impact is pretty upsetting. Let's hope this article sheds some light to others and helps change this disturbing trend.