Monday, March 14, 2011

Older physicians who are losing their ability to practice medicine

As physicians get older, they may lose their ability to practice medicine before they're ready to retire. Although many physicians retire when they're in their 50's or 60's, so wait until they get into their 70's and 80's before they retire. How old can a physician be before he or she loses competency in medical decision-making or surgical procedures?

A few months ago, the NY Times had an article titled, "As Doctors Age, Worries About Their Ability Grow." The article opens with a story of a 78-year old vascular surgeon who operates on a woman and encounters a post-operative complication. Was the surgeon too old to perform surgery? According to the article, this surgeon had an abnormal neuropsychological exam. Perhaps the surgeon should have claimed disability. After all, there are many disabled physicians who are

The article quotes: "A fifth of the nation’s physicians are over 65, and that proportion is expected to rise. As doctors in the baby boom generation reach 65, many are under increasing financial pressures that make them reluctant to retire."

As these older physicians prepare for retirement, are they planning to maintain a part-time clinical practice? Perhaps they'd be in a better position if they pursue a non-clinical encore career. Then again, maybe they should just relax and play golf.

Are you preparing for retirement?

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