When choosing a physician, do you look for an experienced doctor with years of practice under their belt? Or, do you look for degrees, certifications, or awards? Older doctors bring years of clinical experience to the table, but there are also downsides for aging physicians.
Should Age Matter?
Researchers at Harvard University published a paper last year showing patients being taken care of by younger doctors were less likely to die. Physicians with less experience were also less likely to order unnecessary tests in both men and women. For example, overall, 32 out of 62 evaluations reported decreasing performance with increasing years in practice for all outcomes. The bulk of the research shows a consistent and positive relationship between lack of experience and better quality of clinical care.
Younger doctors are more likely to practice innovative ideas and treatments, such as prescribing newer medications with fewer side effects and learning new operating procedures and techniques. Younger physicians are also more likely to put their patients first, whereas older doctors have been known to care lesser for patients nearing the end of their time. Research also shows the importance of younger doctors with the ability to discuss difficult issues with critically ill patients.
Unfortunately, young physicians are finding it harder and more competitive in the medical field due to doctors delaying retirement. Unlike airline pilots, there is not a mandatory retirement age for doctors. According to the American Medical Association, 42 percent of the nation’s 1 million physicians are older than 55 and 21 percent are older than 65. Their ranks are expected to increase as many a doctor will work past the traditional retirement age of 65.
Although older doctors have many years of wisdom and experience, oftentimes their skills have not kept pace. When a healthcare professional has failed to provide treatment in accordance with established protocols resulting in injury, illness, death, negligence or medical malpractice, you will need someone who will provide experienced legal representation. Contact Galligan Law today at 800-217-9312.