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Lancet. 1987 Jan 10;1(8524):84-6.

Mortality of doctors: do doctors benefit from their medical knowledge?


Official population and mortality statistics show that overall mortality of male doctors in Finland in 1971-80 was lower than that of all economically active men. Doctors had lower death rates from cardiovascular disease, tumours, other diseases, causes of death amenable to medical interventions, and accidents and violence, but not suicide. Except for tumours, mortality of male doctors was at the same level or higher than that of men in other professions. Risk of suicide was twice as high for male doctors as for other professions. The numbers of women doctors were too small for firm conclusions about their mortality to be drawn. It is concluded either that doctors do not use their professional knowledge and skills in a way that reduces their own mortality risk or that they are exposed to occupational hazards that cancel out such an effect. Possible hazards are more likely to be mental than physical or chemical.

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