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Too Old To Be Practicing Medicine?

With apologies to the Beatles:

“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now,
Will you see need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m ninety four?”

From the New York Post:

Former NYPD chief cardiologist Dr. Irving Kroop retired in 1986 — when he was 70 — with a $64,364 disability pension awarded because of a bad heart, according to sources and city records.

All the while, he’s maintained a private practice in Brooklyn and moonlighted at NYCERS, the New York City Employees Retirement System, which paid him $14,479 last year to help determine whether other city workers should get disability pensions.

“Hats off to the man — he’s 94 years old but disabled? And still going strong?” said an incredulous Carol Kellerman, head of the Citizens Budget Commission.

Kroop, who gets $155 an hour as a private contractor for city’s civilian pension board, shuffles into examining rooms with a cane and oxygen tank, sources say.

This story presents an interesting dilemma in this era of shrinking retirement income for our seniors who want to continue to work. Should there be an age limit for practicing doctors? How do we assess if a doctor is “disabled” as they age? Should we care?

Should cardiologists performing physical examinations at an advanced age have, say, an annual hearing and vision test to assure they can still hear heart sounds or see jugulovenous distension? Or is the ability to walk into an exam room with a cane (rather than a walker) while wearing oxygen enough to certify them capable to practice medicine?

P.S. 94 is chump change. How about 100 and still practicing?

Hat tip to @DrDeanBurke on Twitter

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*


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