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Age can play a role in medical malpractice

While other professions require regular health screenings to ensure that those working in the field are still capable of doing so, no such requirement exists for doctors. Today, many doctors choose to continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65. In some cases, this can lead to malpractice and cause harm to patients. Those living in the Washington D.C. area who feel they have been the victim of medical malpractice should understand that they may have the right to seek compensation.

Currently, 42 percent of the physicians in America are over 55, and 21 percent are over 65. Many older doctors keep their skills up-to-date and remain mentally sound as they age, but others may face declining skills or decreased judgment without even realizing it. One expert believes that as many 8,000 doctors are still practicing despite having dementia.

To address this problem, a few healthcare institutions, including the University of Virginia Health System, now require doctors of a certain age to undergo regular screenings to determine if they are able to continue practicing. While few would argue that age alone should be a determining factor in deciding whether doctors can continue to practice, some experts believe that this step is positive because without such a rule the decision is often left entirely up to the doctor.

As the population of physicians in the country continues to age, addressing this issue will continue to be important in avoiding malpractice. No matter what the cause of their case, anyone who has been victimized by medical malpractice should understand their legal rights in the situation.

Source: Kaiser Health News, "Too Old to Practice Medicine?," Sandra G. Boodman, Dec. 11, 2012

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