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Study Reveals Gross Gender Disparity in Hospital Care After Severe Injury

Update Date: May 20, 2013 01:22 PM EDT

New research reveals a worrying gender bias in the hospital setting. Apparently women are significantly less likely than men to get trauma center care after a severe injury.

The latest study, which included nearly 100,000 Canadian patients, revealed that while 63.2 percent of males in the study received trauma center care, only 49.6 percent of received the same treatment following a severe injury.

"Gender-based disparities in access to healthcare services in general have been recognized for some time and evidence is emerging that these disparities extend to the treatment of severe injuries in trauma centers," lead author Andrea Hill, MSc, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, said in a statement.

"Our study confirms and expands on these earlier findings by evaluating the relationship between gender and trauma center care in a large cohort of patients from across Canada," Hill explained.

Researchers also found that among patients aged 65 and older, 37.5 percent of the women got trauma care compared with 49.6 percent of men. 

The study found that the gender bias held true even after accounting for clinical, demographic and socioeconomic factors. Further analysis revealed that the gender gap is also found in fall-related injuries and motor vehicle accidents.

Researchers concluded that severely injured women are significantly less likely to receive trauma center care than men.

"The consistency of the pattern across different mechanism of injury and income strata suggest that further studies examining the underlying reasons for the gender disparity in access to trauma centre care are warranted," researchers wrote in the study.

The latest study will be presented Monday at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting in Philadelphia. 

"Our study provides yet more evidence of important gender differences in access to trauma center care for people with severe injuries," Hill concluded. "Future research should focus on the factors underlying these differences and on the effects of these disparities on patient outcomes."

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