The question is not mine, yet something I find interesting: Are women 32% more likely to die if operated on by a male surgeon? The Question is closed due to being unfocused.

As I see this: It has clear source. (The Guardian) Additionally, author has located the scientific article this is based on. Question seems to be relevant to the topic.

So is it true in general that female surgeons do a better job operating on women than male surgeons?

How would one go on to improve the question?

  • The issue with this question is that it does not seem the source makes the claim that the Skeptics.SE poster writes. There's an extensive conversation in chat about this. There is a separate interesting research question about whether the correlation shown in this study is caused by poorer performance of male vs. female surgeons when operating on women. There doesn't seem to be any reason to question whether a study finding this correlation was conducted, as the study itself is clearly referenced in the post. Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


I am loathe to repeat the extensive explanation given in chat.

But basically, there is no notable claim in doubt here.

It appears that everyone agrees:

  • There was a study. It found a correlation, not causation.
  • The study says the mechanism is not known.
  • The article referenced the study. It reported on the correlation.
  • It quoted some experts with some suggestions on what the mechanism might be.

Lots of commenters speculated on the explanation. None of that is in scope on this site.

The current disagreement seems to be: Did the Guardian claim causation?

I argue not. If it did, edit the question to quote it.

Note: Not one person said "it is because female surgeons do a better job operating on women than male surgeons"

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