Health

Female Doctors' Patients Fare Better

Hospital patients treated by female physicians had a small survival edge over those with male doctors, a study of more than 58,000 physicians found. The difference was modest, the study's authors said in JAMA Internal Medicine, which published the research Monday.

Nonetheless, it amounts to about 32,000 fewer deaths annually among Medicare enrollees if male doctors achieved the same mortality rates as female doctors, said Dr. Ashish Jha, a Harvard University researcher who worked on the research.

For the comparison of female and male physicians, Dr. Jha and his colleagues looked at data for a random sample of Medicare enrollees who were hospitalized between 2011 and 2014. Researchers compared the likelihood of death orreadmission within 30 days of a hospital stay for patients with female and male doctors. Patients of female physicians did better.

Melanie Evans

Philadelphia

Judge Dismisses Soda-Tax Lawsuit

A Philadelphia judge dismissed on Monday the beverage industry's legal effort to block the city's planned tax on sugary and sweetened drinks, clearing the way for it to take effect Jan. 1.

The president of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, one of the plaintiffs, said the industry coalition fighting the tax would appeal the ruling.

But stores are getting ready for the tax to take effect. "Our members are preparing and training their employees who work in the checkout line to inform customers why in some cases the cost of beverages is going to double," said David McCorkle, president of the association, whose members include about 300 convenience stores and supermarkets in Philadelphia.

"A lot of people are going to be going across county lines to buy these sweetened beverages," he added.

Philadelphia in June became the first large U.S. city to pass a tax on soft drinks after the City Council approved a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on nonalcoholic beverages with added sweeteners, ranging from soda to sports drinks and energy drinks. The $91 million the city expects to raise annually would go for prekindergarten and other city programs.

Five other local U.S. governments, including San Francisco and Cook County, Ill., followed suit with similar measures.

Beverage companies and retailers sued in September, arguing the tax is unconstitutional because such drinks already are subject to a state sales tax, and Pennsylvania law prohibits cities from imposing duplicate taxes.

Scott Calvert

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 20, 2016 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)

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