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Does the age of your doctor affect your care?

Posted on May 23rd 2017

doctors in surgery

A new U.S.A.-based study suggests that your chance of dying when receiving hospital treatment from a doctor increases slightly if the age of your doctor is higher.

The study was conducted by Dr Yusuke Tsugawa at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, U.S.A. It measured the mortality rates of patients treated by doctors of various ages in the same hospital.

The study analysed what happened to patients following 736,537 hospital admissions managed by 18,854 doctors between 2011 and 2014. The 30-day mortality rates for patients were as follows:


  • 10.8% for physicians aged up to 40 years.
  • 11.1% for physicians aged between 40 and 49 years.
  • 11.3% for physicians aged between 50 and 59 years.
  • 12.1% for physicians aged 60 years or older.

The percentage changes do not seem hugely different. However, they are significant for the patients they may impact.

Dr Tsugawa and colleagues write: “Our findings suggest that differences in practice patterns or process measures of quality between physicians with varying years of experience … might have a meaningful impact on patient outcomes.”

Finally, they add: “Although continuing medical education can take multiple forms that vary across specialities and across countries, the issue of ensuring that physicians keep up with current standards of care is applicable across all specialities and countries.”

Our Team

Our medical negligence team help clients every year who have received medical treatment which has resulted in them suffering a delay in their illness being diagnosed, further injury, or the need for additional treatments. If you believe you have a hospital negligence claim, please contact us today on 01244 312306, or fill in our contact form.

Source: Tsugawa, Y. et al. Physician age and outcomes in elderly patients in hospital in the US: observational study. BMJ 16 May 2017 doi: 10.1136/bmj.j1797

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