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2018 | 90(1) | 18-24
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Can the surgeon live his whole life? Analysis of the risk of death related to the profession

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More than half of physicians in Poland are over 50 years old. This raises concerns about the risk of lack of continuity of health care services due to the generational gap, particularly marked among interventional specialties. The physical and mental burden of general surgery affects those doctors in particular. The aim of the study is to assess whether the type of the profession pursued influences the average lifetime of a physician in Poland and the impact of the surgeon’s occupation on life expectancy compared to the rest of the population according to gender. Demographic data was obtained from official publications of the Central Statistical Office. Data on 189,459 physicians in Poland were obtained from the Central Register of Doctors. A total of 6,496 physicians and dentists deaths in the period from January 1st, 2010 to June 30th, 2014, including 722 surgeons, were analyzed. In general, both male physicians and dentists died at an older age than the mean population (74.9 years and 74.7 years vs. 68.9 years; p <0.05). Among women, only dentists lived longer (78.5 years) p <0.05), while women physicians died at a younger age than the average in the general population (76.4 vs. 77.2 years; p <0.05). The average lifetime of both male and female surgeons was 74.2 and 77.5 years, respectively. The average life expectancy of people aged 25 years with college/university education is 80.3 years for men and 86.6 years for women. Male surgeons live significantly longer than the average life expectancy in the general population of men. The average length of life of women surgeons is significantly lower than the average lifespan of women in the general population. The actual lifetime of surgeons in Poland is significantly lower than the expected average life expectancy for other people aged 25 with tertiary education. The average lifespan of surgeons in Poland does not differ significantly from the average life expectancy of other Polish physicians.
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