Pilots hang up their wings at the age of 65. Other professions are asked to leave early as well. Is it fair to require the same of doctors?
When a pilot reaches the age of 65, he must hang up his wings for good. Other professions, like FBI agent and air traffic controllers, also have to leave the business by a certain age. What about doctors? Physicians do not have a mandatory retirement age, but should they?
Ask a physician and you'll likely get a scoff. David Bazzo, a family medicine physician who is an associate director of the University of California San Diego Health System's Physician Assessment and Clinical Education (PACE) program, says no, "I am definitely not in favor on one." David Norris, an anesthesiologist with Wichita Anesthesiology Chartered and the owner of a physician-based training organization, the Center for Professional Business Development, says there is a big difference between a pilot who is in control of 100 lives and a surgeon who is control of one.
However, after the AMA announced its plans to develop guidelines and methods to screen and assess older physicians, to ensure they are competent in providing care to patients, this issue became a talking point.
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**If you are wondering how to go about reviewing older physicians read: "Assessing the Competency of Older Physicians."