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The Aging Physician: Should Doctors Be Forced to Retire?

Federal regulations mandate pilots must retire when they are 65 years old. But there is no such law in place for doctors. When are doctors too old to treat patients? And what should the criteria be to determine their retirement? A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association Surgery examines this issue and recommends protocols for testing older doctors for health and competence, though it doesn't specify at what age that should happen. Some hospitals have instituted a policy of review for physicians when they turn 70 years of age. The AMA study estimates about a quarter of all practicing physicians in the U.S. are over the age of 65. To help explore these questions, host Dan Loney is joined by the three researches from the University of Washington who worked on this report: Patchen Dellinger, a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Surgery, Thomas Gallagher a Professor in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities, and Carlos Pellegrini, a Professor in the Department of Surgery and former Chief Medical Officer at the University of Washington Medicine.