Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I wish we had more women cardiologists, I do. But does the fact that the field of cardiology (especially interventional cardiology) requires exposure to xrays mean the field of cardiology is discriminatory against women? I don't think so. Trust me, my little gonads gets radiated just as much as the next gender's gonads when I stand before an xray tube.

But now we find that the field of cardiology is being accused of "discrimination" on the basis of training duration, exposure to xrays, or work hours that are inflexible because of patient "emergencies" in the press.

I find it interesting that differences in vocational choice and marital status are considered discriminatory by our professional leadership:
"Discrimination based on gender and parenting is still prevalent. Female cardiologists remain less likely to be married or to have children."
And yet, from the same article, we find our "discriminatory" field has accomplished the following:
"The number of female cardiologists and fellows has nearly doubled in the past decade since our last survey. Coincident with this, we have seen an increased emphasis upon and fulfillment from mentors, increased flexibility in work hours, and a universally high level of satisfaction with career and family."
So we must now ask, what else we can do? Should we rid our profession of emergencies to better meet the needs of female cardiologists? Or perhaps we should shorten work hours to make life more "family friendly?"

Look, people's decisions regarding career choice must consider many factors. To suggest that the field of cardiology is "discriminatory" based on gender and marital status ignores the biologic differences in being a man or woman and casts a sexist pall on the inroads made to improve women's presence in our field.



Anonymous said...


You are a brave man! So politically incorrect for you to suggest that your female counterparts pull the same weight as you do. Maybe you need to start birthing some babies and taking on more child care responsibilities so you can see how the other half lives.

Anonymous said...

It is the same reason women usually don’t choose to pursue any of the various surgical fields: lots of residency years during your late twenties and early thirties working 80 (or more) hours a week (and that is with the New and Improved work hour restrictions) followed by many more years as a new attending working to build your reputation and clientele! Regardless of intentions, not the best time to drop out and have children. However, you are not supposed to talk about it, only nod your head obediently and condemn that darn sexist medical establishment for essentially being gender neutral when it comes to doing your job. Don’t get me wrong: more women in medicine is one of the most profound and positive changes that could have happened. The new generation of physicians now expect a life outside the hospital and to—gasp!—be able to start and have time with their families (or for women, the choice to even have a family); however, this doesn’t change the basic needs of the field. Incredible strides have been made to include more women into medicine and yet there is only complaining that there is insufficient effort to somehow ‘make things right’. Although repeated many times, sometimes you just can’t have it all—decisions have to be made and consequences lived with. And I am sorry, but those decisions and consequences are not my problem.