Tuesday, August 3, 2010

NY Times #Fail--Foreign-Born Doctors

Contrast the New York Times reporting, with the actual abstract of the study:

Foreign-Born Doctors Give Equal Care in U.S.
Published: August 3, 2010
Patients treated by foreign-born doctors who trained in other countries fare just as well as people treated by doctors educated in the United States, a new study has found.
But the results are not as good when the doctor is an American who went to medical school overseas and then returns to practice, the researchers determined. In that situation, patients with heart disease have longer hospital stays and slightly higher death rates.
Actual abstract of the study:

[P]atients of doctors who graduated from international medical schools and were not U.S. citizens at the time they entered medical school had significantly lower mortality rates than patients cared for by doctors who graduated from U.S. medical schools or who were U.S. citizens and received their degrees abroad. 
The Times reports that foreign-born doctors provided equal care with U.S.-trained doctors, while the study actually reports that they were superior--at least in achieving lower mortality rates.

The Times own reporting contradicts both its headline and its lead:

The patients of foreign-born international graduates had the lowest death rate, 5 percent, and the patients of American doctors trained overseas had the highest death rate, 5.8 percent. Patients of the American born-and-trained doctors fell in the middle, with 5.5 percent.
Perhaps I'm missing something--such as comparisons on the length of hospital stays--but I would have thought living and dying would have been far more important to most patients.

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