Tuesday, July 31, 2012

amednews.com: Physician quality: What’s age got to do with it?

In the name of patient safety, some hospitals require that senior physicians get a fitness-for-duty evaluation as a condition of medical staff privileges.

Kevin B. O'Reilly, July 30, 2012                                              

Slowly, but surely, Norman Dunitz, MD, discovered the limitations that age placed on his ability to safely practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Tulsa, Okla. As he neared 70, he took fewer cases as a lead surgeon and started assisting on more procedures led by his colleagues.

In his later 70s, Dr. Dunitz gave up surgery entirely due to the physical toll it took.

“My eyesight, my coordination was not as good. I felt pretty good, but I felt the time had come to stop,” he said.

“Surgery was harder in the sense that we’d operate into the late afternoon,” he said. “I’d be more tired in the evening and have muscle cramps after being on my feet all day. I was just obviously not as physically able as I was 10 years before. … It was a warning to me that I was trying to do too much.”

Read the rest here.

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