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AMA J Ethics. 2016 Oct 1;18(10):1017-1024. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2016.18.10.pfor1-1610.

Competence not Age Determines Ability to Practice: Ethical Considerations about Sensorimotor Agility, Dexterity, and Cognitive Capacity.

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Professor of clinical surgery at the University of California San Francisco-Fresno, where she is also the program director for the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship.


Consideration of the effects of aging on physicians' practice is crucial to addressing aging clinicians' competence, that is, their ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety. Given physician workforce shortages even in resource abundant countries, the establishment of a compulsory retirement age in the US is impractical and unlikely. Several US hospitals and institutions have sought to address concerns about competence by establishing mandatory age-linked testing and evaluation for physicians. However, these procedures have raised questions regarding age discrimination and test validity.

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