Sunday, September 3, 2006
CHICAGO - Most of Dr. Marshall Goldin's medical school classmates have retired or died, but at age 67, the heart surgeon believes he still has good working years ahead.
He performs about 200 heart and vascular surgeries a year at Rush University Medical Center. He has given away two sets of golf clubs because he doesn't have time to play that often.
"If one is still interested and enjoys the work and the challenge, it's my opinion that one should and can continue," Goldin said. "I don't believe my stamina and interest have at all changed."
Stamina, strength, fine motor skills and sharp eyesight are traits associated with youth - and with surgery. The United States requires airline pilots to step down at age 60, but there is no mandatory retirement age for surgeons, who - like pilots - hold life in their hands.
A new study raises questions about when older surgeons should quit the operating room and how they can stay at the top of their game in the final years of their careers. With the percentage of working doctors older than 65 climbing, the questions hold growing importance for patients.