This is in response to the Associated Press article “Can hospital doctor’s gender influence chance of survival?” (Page A7, Dec. 20).

I believe that the study to which the article was referring was published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine. The lead author was Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa, not Dr. Ashish K. Jha as The Associated Press reported, though Dr. Jha was one of the authors.

Most importantly, although the article is interesting and provocative, I have a number of questions about it. Specifically, the years of experience of the female doctors was 11.6 years, compared with 16.4 years for the male doctors.

It must then be questioned if the younger physicians are better trained than the older ones or perhaps the older ones are losing some of their training. I believe this study should have compared male and female physicians with the same number of years of experience.

Additionally, another question is raised. The number of hospitalizations per year for the female physicians was 131.9, compared to 180.5 for the male physicians. Could it mean that the busier physicians were tired, getting “burned out” or some other reason? Similar cohorts must be matched for valid conclusions.

Finally, this study must be duplicated at other institutions by other investigators before any reasonable conclusions are made.

Lawrence M. Leonard, M.D.