When Should Doctors Retire?
OK, here is the question I would like to put to my visitors: when should doctors retire from practice and the treating of patients? The matter of when to retire is becoming a more important issue in the United States where healthcare reform associated with increasing medical coverage for previously uncovered public is going to require more physicians available for their care. Of course, most decisions to retire are made by physicians themselves based on health issues or emotional or physical burn-out or their desire to spend more time with their family or other life pleasures. However, should this be a judgment only made by the doctor or should rules be set by patients, politicians, courts (that is by society) and directed to medical regulatory boards for enforcement?
If there is no age set by law, should there be? At what age? If compulsory retirement is set by society and there is no specific age set, what other criteria should society use to say to the doctor “it’s time for you to begin another life”? If the doctor is not frankly demented then should retirement be triggered by the number of malpractice suits or the number of complaints to medical boards by patients, serious professional ethical or legal issues or failure to pass some tests of proficiency and knowledge periodically required to be taken? If a doctor does not fully meet the minimal test scores, would that automatically mean “you’re out” or could doctors still participate in medical care but with lesser degrees of responsibility? Should all such triggers be considered final or should doctors always be considered able to be rehabilitated?
And finally, is a “retired doctor” of any value to society?
Any answers? ..Maurice.