New York, May 17: In spite of their knowledge of medical treatment and outcomes, doctors do not die differently than everyone else. They are likely to spend as much time in hospitals in the last months of life as we do, a new research has found. “The overall rrative that doctors die differently is false,” said the study’s senior author Stacy Fischer, associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the US.
The researchers found that physicians use more hospice care, spend more time in intensive care units (ICUs) and just as much time in hospitals when compared to the rest of the population.
“We found that doctors used more hospice care — about two days on average — but when you look at the length of stay in hospital in the last months of life, there is no difference between them and the rest of population,” Fischer noted. In 2011, Ken Murray, a retired family physician, wrote an essay entitled “How Doctors Die”, saying doctors were more likely to die at home with fewer end-of-life medical interventions.
The essay swiftly went viral and was supported by hypothetical surveys of physicians regarding their wishes for care at the end of life and later by smaller prelimiry studies. In this new study, the researchers wanted to see if doctors with their knowledge of medical treatment and outcomes truly did die differently than others. They examined data from 9,947 deceased physicians and a random sample of 192,006 non-physicians between 2008 and 2010. (IANS)