How Old Is Your Doctor?

And does it matter?

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Comments (55)

(55) graenum SChiff MD, October 26, 2011 3:17 AM

the nurses know and report incompetent doctors

Hospitals do not want to be sued. If there is an incompetent doctor, it is usuallly reported by the hospital staff to the hospital administration and the doctors privileges are restricted.There is no need to worry. Also , passing a competency test does not guarantee that the doctor will be ethical,

(54) Dr E, May 3, 2011 3:58 AM

Older doctors

Older doctors are like old wine. If they were outstanding when they were young they will be even better when they get older. The opposite is also true. testing should be mandatory after 65.

(53) Anonymous, February 11, 2011 6:40 AM

doctor education

My father was a surgeon for many years. He said that the person who graduates last in the class is still called "doctor." It is not really about age. No one can even start to practice medicine until the age of 29 or 30, depending on the field of specialty. He always kept up with the latest techniques and went to conferences and courses throughout his career. He also independently researched the drugs that the drug companies were sending him. This is what a good doctor does. Older doctors may not do surgery but they are frequently good for consultation. You have to go and see what doctor you are comfortable with, not check his age. There are plenty of younger doctors that don't have the patience or experience to deal with complicated cases. For instance, I took my kids to a specialist and the next time I saw her, she didn't remember any of my kids or even seeing me - this was after about 6 visits. I didn't go back to her. While she was competent, she didn't care enough to really find out the problem and even remember that she had seen my face before. It is about practicing good medicine, regardless of the age. A less experienced doctor should consult with a senior doctor and an older doctor will guide a younger one to learn the proper techniques to gain experience and competency.

(52) Anonymous, February 7, 2011 11:06 PM

Yes, I do

Doctors hold a person's life in their hands. They should be up to date on all things medical.l

(51) Elisheva, February 6, 2011 3:59 AM

Caring, Empathy, Ethics and Compassion Can't Be Tested

I have been a patient advocate for years---recently had a cardiac surgeon at a famous teaching hospital in Manhattan, tell a patient that if he knew the patient was 60 yrs old, he would not have done the surgery. Testing this doctor would not weed out heartless physicians or those that believe they have the right to have a patient stressed out forever in nightmares of dying because there is no one out there that will now help her.

(50) Renée, February 4, 2011 6:39 PM

I left an old doctor

When I first selected an obstetrician from a list of names I had no idea who I'd wind up with but I prayed that G-d would help me choose the right one. I ended up just selecting the one whose name came first alphabetically. When my mother and I went to the first appointment we were both surprised to see that the man I had selected to deliver my baby was old enough to be a great-grandfather himself. I won't say that he was an incompetent doctor, but he was *extremely* slow and had a slight tremor in his hands. I had the distinct feeling that I couldn't rely on him to rush to the hospital in time and I had the terrifying thought that he might even drop my baby. My mother felt the same way. (Of course we were too polite to say anything about it until we left his office but I was relieved to know she felt the same way I did.) As it turns out he decided I was a "high risk" pregnancy and sent me to another o.b. That spared me the embarrassment of asking my insurance to switch me over just because I thought Dr. A was too old. (Nevertheless, my young, energetic, specialist doctor didn't make it to the hospital on time. My baby was delivered by the charge nurse instead and Dr. Young and Fit got there just in time to do my stitches.)

(49) Anonymous, February 4, 2011 5:47 PM

Who is qualified th test them?

Who is (qualified) to test Doctors? What would be their motive? Protect the medical fraternity? Push them out for younger Doctors? Punish them for not joining the society? I am a retired Pharmacist, late 80's. My CE info was provided by either provides of products, or a professor who had written or was writing a book. Testing or CE can be most beneficial, but usually is not. Testing the attitude and patient handling would be excellent. Your thoughts??

(48) Anonymous, February 4, 2011 5:27 PM

Ben Shishim L'zikna

How about Rabbonim? Doctors deal with the body but a Rebbe deals with Ruchneis-with a child's soul.Yet there's no recertification for them.

(47) Anonymous, February 3, 2011 4:59 PM

Dr.'s are recertified yearly or biyearly

As a Dr.'s wife I know that people request my (older) husband bec. they feel he is more experienced, and he IS! He has to take a qualifying test annually or biannually to get recertification. He works in a hospital.

(46) Mark Douglas Obenour, EMT-P Ret., February 3, 2011 8:18 AM

Should Physicians be tested for competancy-Yes!

As a former EMT/Paramedic and Special Topics EMS instructor, now retired. I had to be recertified every 3 years either showing I had a required number of continuing education credits passed successfully or I had to retake the State Board. I think this is an excellent requirement and other health care professionals including Physicians should be subject to the same rigorous minimum competancy testing. One has to remember in passing any state board it proves MINIMUM COMPETANCY TO PRACTICE IN THAT STATE. That is one reason I try to find an elder physician who is still with it. Experience counts! Proceedures change and sometimes older proceedures or methods are successful when modern ones aren't and they wind up being revisited or improved in the modern day. Experience counts but MIMIMUM COMPETANCY IS REQUIRED!

(45) Baruch, February 3, 2011 6:47 AM

Kal VaChomer Rabbis

Rav Noach used to call doctors, "fancy plumbers." He seemed to feel the people that REALLY carry great responsibility for others are the wise people, like Rabbis, to whom we go to for advice. Let's follow Rabbis Salomon's logic about the importance of a doctor being cognitively fit due to the huge responsibility he carries. If that is a reason for them to be tested in order to continue practicing, CERTAINLY (kal VaChomer) Rabbis, like Rabbi Salomon, who advise SO MANY others on crucial life decisions, ought to be cognitively tested annually before being allowed to dispense their wisdom.

(44) Robert M. Miller, MD, February 3, 2011 3:55 AM

Probably useless and a false sense to the public.

If a physicians mental faculties are shrinking his colleagues, and patients will recognize this faster than a test given every 10 years. There are way too many qualities that are not measurable on a written test, experience, intuition, judgement, ethics etc. to name a few. Has a study been done to show that the test can really screen out incompetent physicians? What about not being quite sure of the on a test but knowing how to find out. What about docs who know their limits, but don't pass the test, and docs who pass but don't know their limits. The only way you can judge a doc is to have a few people in his field follow him around for a reasonable length of time, but this is not practical. The test except in the extreme is a poor device to find incompetency. It is worse than the ABC rating of restaurants.

(43) Anonymous, February 3, 2011 3:03 AM

91 year old doctor

I work for a 91 y.o. doctor and I definitely agree that doctors should be tested. Although he is an amazing, sharp, wise and competent doctor, I have seen mistakes due to his age. Thank God they were not crucial or fatal.

(42) Ionah Estevez -Breton, Family Physician, February 2, 2011 11:26 PM

Yes : one´s health is so important that every detail is very important

Jewish law remarks the importace of one´s good health and the mitzvah of keeping it in good shape. It is thus mandatory for a healthy society to look after people´s health in every possible manner. We Doctors have to take an active and responsible role in this task. Toda raba.

(41) Anonymous, February 2, 2011 6:59 PM

Test medical staff on new knowledge and bedside manner.

I want the most knowledgeable doctor to help, both in information and in real life experience. Yes, all doctors and medical personnel should be tested on advances made in treatments and prevention. Also, I saw an interesting show on Dr. Oz yesterday, about faith healing. Whether faith or love or placibo effect, one does better when they feel the doctor/healer cares about them. All doctors should have to take a class on learning to be better doctors, FROM THE PATIENT'S PERSPECTIVE. They should have to be undercover patients, so to speak, at least once in their careers. Preferably early on. Let them go in with mock syptoms, not permitted to tell the doctor or other medical staff that they aren't really sick. The teacher could arrange with someone in charge at the hospital to supply some mock test results, and let the doctors (who are in the patient's beds) see how quick they are helped, how they are spoken to, how accurately they are diagnosed, and what treatment is recommended, and the doctors general compassion about them. They can grade the medical staff caring for them; those that need improvement should be required to be mock patients themselves at a later date. I think it could be a real eye opener for them all. Also, any doctor that says something is in your imagination just because they aren't knowledgeable enough to diagnose you should be reprimanded. It's bad enough that they aren't able to help you, but then to say basically you're crazy is abusive. They should just say they weren't able to find anything wrong, but that perhaps a (what ever is appropriate) specialist may be able to help you better. Not just leave you with're crazy, now go home and suffer/die. Most people don't go to a doctor (take off work, arrange for baby sitting, wait forever for various appointments, go through unpleasant testing) unless something is really wrong. FYI accountants are tested annually to stay updated on new rules and renew their license.

(40) Anonymous, February 2, 2011 5:02 PM

difficult question

I think generally the older doctors should be tested. It is not only the testing though which will uncover the patient care decisions not in line with the standard of care. It is a difficult problem since there is already the shortage of primary care doctors and you might push a number of otherwise competent docs to retirement just because they might not want to retest at their age.

(39) Anonymous, February 2, 2011 12:51 PM

Doctors should also be tested for ethical stardads

Doctors should also be tested for their ethical standards. Clinical and technical skills are important. What motivates physicians in the first place? Age does not matter. Competence standards are determined by boards and this is just one way of curbing physician inertia.

(38) Anonymous, February 2, 2011 11:35 AM

Already doctoroctors are having continual proffesiona development assesments which are compulsory.Do you want to put more stress on your already stressed d

(37) David Tzvi, February 2, 2011 3:38 AM


1. To be board certified, physicians must re-test periodically to retain the certification. 2. All my medical care is given at the PHX VA Hospital and Clinics. There, I get the benefit of 1,2, 3, year residents with all the current knowledge, backed up by seasoned "elder" physicians with all the experience.

(36) Anonymous, February 2, 2011 3:28 AM

ALL doctors should be tested

I am a relatively young physician who is 51. I expect that I will have to continue to demonstrate competence in my chosen profession as long as I continue to practice. It doesn't seem right, or fair, that physicians much older than me should escape the scrutiny of medical boards, simply because they were born before me. I have seen a lot of incompetence in the medical profession , particularly among physicians who should have long retired. I frequently have to fix mistakes made on patients who have trusted their older physicians. Many of them do not keep up with meetings or medical journals, and are not well-versed in the newest medications. I remember one particular situation that occurred a few years ago. I was consulting with a physician about a patient we shared in common. This doctor had to be in her 70's or 80's, and she questioned my choice of Levaquin as the antibiotic of choice for this patient. Levaquin had already been on the market for over 10 years, and this elderly physician announced that she had never heard of this medication, and therefore could not recommend it! I recall another situation where an elderly OB/GYN delivered a newborn by C-section (the safest means of delivery) but nonetheless caused a traumatic birth injury by pulling too hard on the infant's head, severing the cervical spine and causing total paralysis. Some physicians need to retire long before tey actually stop working! Hopefully, this will shed some light on the importance of maintaining some standard of competence in elderly physicians. We wouldn't stop testing people who drive automobiles simply because they had reached a certain age, would we?

(35) Anonymous, February 2, 2011 2:46 AM

Yes, I believe they should go a competency test, especially when they reach the age of 60. I would still go to an older Dr, since honestly, most of them are more compassionate and caring , compared tothe younger ones, who for some reason became a Dr. for financial benefits.

(34) Betzy, February 2, 2011 2:17 AM

I do agree Dr.'s should be re-tested at a certain age.

(33) Anonymous, February 2, 2011 2:09 AM


yes, mel raskin, I agree with you. Loneliness is a very big problem in the big city. Many older people live alone, far away from their families and their friends don't live nearby. It would be nice if all our friends lived in the same building , so we can visit them in the evenings or on long snowy days when we are stuck indoors. I also find shabbat very lonely, especially when you cant do anything. Do you have any ideas how to deal with this loneliness problem. perhaps we can chat or write on the computer.

(32) Mary Mihelich, PhD, February 2, 2011 12:54 AM

Concern here well intended but largely unecessary

All Physicians are required to maintain continuing education (CME) to keep their liscence to practice current. Some specialties such as Family Practice, require extensive ongoing re-examination. Unlike some psychotherapists in private practice, physicians work daily with allied health care professionals such as nurses, aids, lab techs, hospital administrators and physician colleagues. Any of these people are able to raise official concern regarding competency of a physician if they observe trouble. Most physicians who are in specialties requiring a great deal of dexterity manage to scale down the scope of their practice as they find their skills dwindling. I think the system has been overly vigilent regarding any medical practictioner who is under par due to highly profitable business of suing for malpractice. Please don't alarm your readers about the mature physicians. Odds are, they will be safe and if doc is in over his head, he will order a consult. Be well my friends.

(31) Mrs. Roberta Gerbrecht Grayson, February 2, 2011 12:12 AM

No State or Federal Testing of Doctors.

Rabbi Solomon, I respectfully disagree with any state or federal age related testing of competency for any professional including the medical profession. I believe that in all 50 states, a doctor needs to be licensed, is governed by a state professional regulation department, and must take hours of continuing eduction. That department also provides a medium for reporting malpractice, unprofessional behavior, or dishonesty. That is all of the oversight that is necessary in my opinion. My brilliant husband practiced medicine up until his death several months ago at the age of 85. His relationship with his patients was personally rewarding to his patients as well as to himself. Had he ever lost any mental acuity, his family, close medical associates or his hospital association would have stepped in to protect him and his patients. It is my belief that he practiced better more thoughtful medicine as he was older. He had more time to devote to each patient, and he had time to do extensive research on a variety of medical subjects; often finding a difficult diagnosis that might have eluded him years earlier. Most doctors are associated with hospitals, and medical associations. If oversight is ever appropriate it would be at that level. Hospitals and medical malpractice insurance companies have an agenda to keep current with the competency of their doctors, medical staff and insured. In this time we need LESS government intervention, not more. We do not need one more government mandate to "save us" from some seen or unseen "evil". As an American I want the personal freedom to chose, evaluate and purchase services from professionals of my choice. I am competent and able to make decisions on the competency of any professional I chose to retain. Should I ever loose that ability, then family or an institution must make that decision on my behalf, not the government. Mrs. Richard Grayson

(30) Gerald Greenwald, February 1, 2011 10:50 PM

Here's the scoop1

There are at least two types of glaucoma. Narrow angle glaucoma is not necessarily detectable early. No doctor can be alleged to cause or allow this. Doctors do the best they can. Please remember that doctors are a very, very smart group of people. Most of them know when to quit. As in any profession, if doctors don't keep up with current methods, tests, trends, then perhaps they ought to be told to retire by their governing bodies. Why all the kvetching and bubbemeinse? Most but not all doctors keep up as they need to. I agree with Mel that young doctors don't necessarily appreciate the infirmities and insecurities that come as we age. If you don't like or trust the way your doctor does things, you are quite free to seek a second opinion. In the case of real emergencies in capable emergency rooms, generally the level of care is good. But you can't get the best doctor all of the time. There is an element of luck to this all...unfortunately. Years ago and before scans and other tests, physical examination, i.e., the laying on of the hands, was excellent because it was taught and learned with excellence. Nowadays, I, for one, as a thirteen year survivor of Stage Four Colon to Liver cancer, would trust my scans a million times more than I would trust any doctor's least for diagnosis. Best case, methinks, is when good physical examinations accompany good scans read by a competent radiologist.

(29) Liebe Schulman, MD, MA, FAAP, February 1, 2011 10:31 PM

Continuing Medical Education and Board Certification

I' not sure you you missed this, but ALL licensed physicians in most states are required to maintain Continuing Medical Education credits every year. MOST doctors who practice in clinic or hospital settings (which is MOST doctors) are required to maintain their board certification. This means taking a board certification test, which in my own specialty (Pediatrics) happens every seven years. What the Rabbi is referring to is called the "Grandfather clause" which means that if a person was practicing in their field prior to the institution of the board certification requirements, they don't have to take the test. In actuality, "Grandfathering" has been totally phased out. ALL physicians who are listed as being Board Certified in their specialty have taken and passed the board exam. I believe the information in this presentation is not up-to-date and accurate. Any and every physician's credentials should be checked and verified, regardless of their age. Please do not encourage ageist discrimination against our elder physicians, who have a wealth of knowledge based on their experience, in addition to their years of continuing medical education.

(28) Bil Gottfried, February 1, 2011 10:09 PM

Misinformation about testing for competency

All Hospital based physicians practicing in a Joint Commission accredited hospital (overwhelming number of hospitals) go through a vigorous review process both on an ongoing basis as well at least every 9 months if the hospital is to remain accredited.

(27) Ginny, February 1, 2011 9:19 PM

Family Medicine Board Certification

The American Board of Family Practice requires all doctors who wish to remain certified to take an exam every 7 years (a time determined during which a large portion of medicine will probably change), REGARDLESS of age. I think Dr. Salomen should check his information first. Other Boards have started to require this as well.

(26) Shoshana, February 1, 2011 8:50 PM

Having doctors tested for competence periodically.

Yes, although an older doctor may have a wider spectrum of experience, his hands make shake as Rabbi Solomon mentioned, he may forget what he has recently done or what he is talking about.

(25) Chayah, February 1, 2011 8:30 PM

CE is the name of the game

In the state of Maryland and I'm sure many other states, in order for a Physician (Pharmacists, Nurses & other health providers) to continue practicing, their licenses must be renewed and in order to do that, they must go to Continuing Education Courses to receive the neccessary points. That said, age does not prove that bedside manners, personality, dedication to patients, exhaustion, personal worries or anything else that could effect the outcome of a patient's health comes into play. So, with all the tests for competency, how can one be very sure that a Doctor is competent at any given age or time?!

(24) Bette, February 1, 2011 7:34 PM

Yes, doctors should be periodically tested for their competency. As we humans age our skills can diminsh and that includes cognitive as well as kinetic. Just because you have elected to be in the medical field should not give you' carte blanche' to continue to practice w/o having your abilities tested to see/meet the standard criteria of a practicing physcian. After all, physicians deal in the 'field of life.'

(23) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 7:22 PM

Medecin is changing so rapidley that older doctors may not be able to use the new material unless they must pass a test. The tests would also check incompetent doctors whether they are old or young.

(22) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 7:10 PM

Maintenance of Certification

Several medical boards have started to require Maintenance of Certification for all doctors, even those grandfathered into the board certification process. This process includes certain continuing educational education methods and patient evaluations. I believe the public will be able to check the local board to see if a physician is in compliance with MOC. I agree that doctors should put in the time required to maintain competency. Someone raised the question about how good can a doctor be with an infirm wife? The truth is, medicine has to be number one and the family has to make do. I am married to an excellent physician who is frequently absent from our family life. I am also a physician, but I had to be the one to focus on the family. I was always divided between attention to my family and also my profession. Some mothers can do this, but I could not. I did not want to be a bad doctor and a bad mother. I decided to be a stay at home mom. My children, and my patients deserved better.

(21) Paul, February 1, 2011 7:06 PM

Certainly something to think about

Dear Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, Certainly something to think about and not an easy task, testing older people, but I think it is necessary, but just because one may not be a good surgeon anymore, does not mean that they are not the best at other aspects of being a doctor.

(20) Elana, February 1, 2011 6:53 PM

Getting Tested

No one retakes an exam once they pass. I am a nurse, and I am not going to take my nursing board test again. Ridiculous. These exams don't even really test the competency of people; they test the person's ability to regurgitate information. However, I must have a certain amount of credits to maintain my license. This is done by attending new classes, etc. I believe it is the same for doctors. It should be the same for lawyers and everyone who is professionally licensed. Also, to #14; every single person has something or other going on in their lives. Are you saying that people should be trouble free in order to maintain their jobs?? What a professional must do is leave their personal issues aside and when at work concentrate at work. I think that people in this time and age think that medical people are responsible for every little thing. This is wrong. Most medical people do the best that they can do and the rest is up to Hashem. And also, being sharp every day? Are you sharp every day? Not missing symptoms? Fact of life::symptoms are missed every single day. You must be your own best caretaker and not rely everything on doctors. Do your own research. Monitor your own symptoms too. Medical professionals are people and understand that people make mistakes. It may make you angry, but it is the truth. I think the mentality should be that medical people are there to guide people in their illnesses, and the rest is really to a higher power. Again, it is important to monitor things yourself as well. If you have issues with a doctor, switch, or at least get a second opinion. I don't think age has anything to do with it. Me personally, I would rather be treated by a physician who has experience than by a new doctor. I don't want to be the guinea pig.

(19) ruth housman, February 1, 2011 6:35 PM

what is a test?

I know that doctors, like social workers, like others, in helping professions need to keep up their professional certification requirements in their field of study, meaning, attending so many courses over a period of years, that do document their learning experience. Of course it's easy to slide through this. We do tend to "know" about doctors who don't make the grade, and yes, it's important for some oversight of all professions. It is also important to realize that too much oversight can also be "too much" and that these on paper tests do not necessarily test for in the field competence. There are difficulties throughout society with "tests" as being adequate markers for competence, and skill. Yes, a doctor whose hands shake from old age or some kind of palsy, should not be involved in brain surgery. Certain things are "no brainers". There's a grey area here, and it's worth discussing, worth alerting each other, to this issue. As to "tests", how they are conducted, what they actually test, for validity, well, that's up for grabs. Creativity is frequently not part of these standardized tests, and yet it's creativity that powers modern medicine and the innovative and new approaches we get to the amelioration of myriad medical problems.

(18) Joe Bell, February 1, 2011 4:24 PM

Adequate test

How do you test a doctor? Who is more dangerous, the doctor who knows a lot but does not know the limits of his knowledge or the doctor who knows less but has a firm grasps of the limits of his competance?

(17) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 4:04 PM

With all the new discoveries in the medical field, I feel that a doctor should be obligated to keep up to date!

(16) Paul Klein, February 1, 2011 4:01 PM

Older Doctors and Competency

Certainly doctors should have to not only be tested, they should also be required to participate in CME (Continuing Medical Education). I prefer an older doctor (as opposed to an older surgeon) because they rely on experience, an acquired knowledge base, and intuition enhanced by their early training. Too many physicians today rely on tests and technology, which increases the cost of health care without really increasing the quality. Recent studies show that a lot of miracle drugs and procedures and tests are based on faulty research or incomplete research analysis. A doctor who uses his senses is still a better diagnostician than a machine.

(15) moshe, February 1, 2011 3:59 PM


they should definitely tested just like some states require senior drivers to have their eyes and reflexes tested as much as twice per year.

(14) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 3:48 PM

YES,Test, winnow, decertify.

Several Years before my father passed he made the decision to stick with his ophtamologist who was very senior himself. Within a 3 month exam interval my father lost all vision in one eye due to glaucoma. Although accidents do happen, the doctor within weeks of only then discovering that my father went blind closed his practice with a simple referel letter. The doctor himself had advanced stomach cancer but struggled onward hiding his own illness from his patients. He died shortly thereafter leaving an infirmed wife. If you can't take the time to care of your self how will you take time to care for your patients? How attentive can a Dr be when his wife is infirmed? Does a Dr choose to continue in his practice as a diversion from a depressing home life? The doctor needed to provide for his own family, I can respect this. But I can't respect him for not doing right by my father. How many patients can you squeeze in an hour pits the Drs finances ahead of how many patients can be treated in an hour. Some patients do require extra care. High eye pressure needs more frequent monitoring. The particular drug [timopkim] prescribed by the Dr had been well documented for its numerous side effects including blindness. The new younger Ophtamologist increased my fathers exams to bimonthly and changed medications. While the older Dr was popular and always had a packed waiting room, Medicine is not about popularity or showmanship. Its about being sharp every day and not missing symptoms stareing you straight in your eyes.

(13) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 3:22 PM

hands shaking

Yes, older doctors should be tested for competency and for motor skill problems. No one would want a surgeon with shaky hands performing the finer details of surgery, or a surgeon with shaky hands who might ask the students to perform the finer details that he or she finds hard to perform. Also, anesthesiologists should be tested for drug and alcohol addiction. My friend's mom, a mother of five, was killed by an intoxicated anesthesiologist. Yes, doctors in general are responsible for thousands and should have to undergo certain testing.

(12) MEL RASKIN, February 1, 2011 1:15 AM

experience with age is most important

What’s Up, Doc? Posted on September 7, 2010 by melrask1 The young doctors in medicine today cannot feel or understand the conditions of our age (80,’s, 90′s, and older) under which we live. They can’t understand how we encounter life on a day to day basis, and they won’t, until they reach our age. Only when your doctor is your age or beyond, will he feel then what you are experiencing now. Today, medical doctors read about aging in medical texts and are taught to prescribe a pill to deal with those conditions that the aged discuss with them. Today, society primarily deals with dementia and alzheimer’s. While those of us who are still mentally capable face that big problem of old age, which is loneliness. Pills are usually given for many of the conditions of aging, including depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood thinners, and etc. Have you ever discussed problems common to your age with others your age? Their is a commonality and a mutual understanding of intimate day to day experiencing between those of a similar age group. I search for the same thing. I would like to ask a fellow nonagenarian about their experiences. Do your legs bother you? How? Is your hearing , eyesight, balance, failing? And how? If only we can get our aging community on a network, or in some way to contact each other we could probably be more reassuring to one other than all that the doctors can medically provide for the depression which we feel. Write to me, tell me how you feel. Let’s overcome loneliness together.

(11) Anonymous, February 1, 2011 1:03 AM

Age should not determine competency

I don't believe that age should be a determining factor in choosing a physician. I believe that the competency of the doctor, no matter his/her age, should determine one's choice. There are some very highly skilled doctors in the higher age brackets as a result of years of experience, but I would want to know that they have kept up with of the the latest developments in the medical field. By the same token, younger doctors have received cutting edge training, but lack the years of experience that an older doctor has. Still, I believe there are some excellent and some not so excellent doctors at each end of the age spectrum. I would prefer to judge each doctor on his own, personal merits, and not by his birth certificate.

(10) Anonymous, January 31, 2011 10:06 PM

I took my 95 year old father to the ER recently. The young ER doctor never put her hands on him. She didn't do a physical, take a history, listen to his chest, palpate, or even use her brain. All she did was to order tests. That's it. If this is better medicine than what my 60 year old husband practices you won't find me in another ER. I am an RN and my 95 year old father retired from the practice of medicine at age 89. He was a far better phyisican than the woman who was suppose to be his doctor in the ER.

(9) Anonymous, January 31, 2011 12:57 AM

being that medical knowledge is constantly changing there is a need for ALL people in the medical field (nurses, doctors,pharmacists, etc...) no matter what their age, to get retested on the newest information. what was right one year can be changed to the complete opposite, proven by the newest medical breakthroughs.i am in nursing school and they constantly teach us the same subjects throughout the year, and updating us as the newest information is published. if the doctor is constantly reviewing the information that is available, there should be no need for that doctor to be afraid of taking a test, and it should have nothing to do with his kavod- because in the end of the day that doctor is responsible for many people's lives (and i know i would rather go to a doctor who puts my health before his kavod).

(8) Anonymous, January 31, 2011 12:36 AM

older physicians

I am a physician who just turned 65 years old. I have already been certified recertified and re-re certified. While it is important to keep up to date with curreent knowledge and to brush up on the basics, the recertification tests only measure your grasp of facts and perhaps your ability to solve some clinical problems. It does not test your clinical competancy or bedside manner. I believe that instead physicians should be required to take clinical courses to update their knowledge and to spend a certain amount of time at a university medical center participating in rounds and discussing actual clinical cases.

(7) Anonymous, January 30, 2011 8:13 PM

response to shimon

I know this wasn't the topic of the blog however with regards to what shimon brought up i don't think rabbis should need to re-qualify themselves for two reasons the first is because they are constantly studying and reviewing what they have learned unlike other professions(to the best of my knowledge i don't think doctors constantly review there textbooks from med school). The second reason is that a rabbi is someone who is constantly working on himself to reach higher levels of kedusha(holiness) and the greater a person becomes the more siyatah deshmayah (help from heaven) he has and therefore the older the rabbi is the holier he will be and therefore will have more help from G-d come out with the right judgment.

(6) Anonymous, January 30, 2011 6:53 PM

Of course!

Of course they should be retested! It's like being retested for your drivers license in a way. Did you forget how to drive? No. You just need to re-qualify and since you have been doing it for so long you could have very well forgotten some things. Also, being kept up to date is very important! New medications and discoveries are always out there and we need to make sure ALL doctors are qualifying in those as wel!

(5) TMay, January 30, 2011 6:37 PM


No.Let the marketplace respond. I've seen it happen and it works. As for surgeons, they want to protect themselves from being sued by their patients, in addition to caring about the welfare of their patients. They are aware if they are getting older and will make the choice to not subject their fortune to lawsuits.

(4) Anonymous, January 30, 2011 4:56 PM

My husband started medical school at age 48, did a PA residency in family medicine, and practices in an underserved area. He learned, competed, and tests, right along with the younger ones. DO NOT MAKE ALL JUDGEMENTS BASED ON AGE, you should know better. (If you don't believe the above, it is totally verifiable.)

(3) Judith, January 30, 2011 3:10 PM

Older doctors

I trust them a hundred fold more than younger ones!!!! Old doesn't mean not at pace with technology, on the contrary. This applies for so many other professions as well.

(2) SusanE, January 30, 2011 2:06 PM

Yes & Younger Doctors should be Tested too.

Older Doctors 60 are generally very good at their professions. They have experience, they have Great Diagnostic Capabilities, they prescribe drugs only when necessary for a specific ailment. They don't order unnecessary testing. They don't over book their practices for profit. Surgeons over 65 should be given reflex and competency testing every 2 years.~~~~~~~~ Younger Doctors (M.D.'s) don't diagnose. They follow the book by Testing for a, b and then c. Then they try prescribing the newest a, b and c. drugs for what your illness MIGHT be. When that ends they then suggest surgery or therapy. Younger Dr.'s (under 40) should be tested for profeciency. Younger surgeons and M.D.'s should be drug and alcohol tested every 6 months.

(1) shimon, January 30, 2011 11:40 AM

Would we also require Rabbis on a Bet Din to "re-qualify" for their Smicha?


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