A new health-care study has suggested that the rate of Caesarean sections in the US may be high because it is more profitable for doctors. The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, compared cases involving patients who were themselves qualified doctors with cases of non-doctor patients. The researchers theorized that the operating doctor would be less likely to suggest an unnecessary C-section to an educated patient. Gynaecologists were 10% less likely to suggest a C-section to doctor-patients than non-doctor patients.
"Obstetricians appear to be treating their physician patients differently than [they treat] their non-physician patients," said co-author Erin Johnson, of MIT. The researchers stressed that gynaecologists may not even be aware of the influence of the monetary incentive. Rather, they claim, it plays a subconscious, but significant, role in decision-making.
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