Fewer General Surgeons In United States Today

The number of general surgeons in the United States has declined more than 25 percent in the past 25 years, according to a report released April 21, 2008 in the JAMA/Archives journal Archives of Surgery.

According to the article, the general surgeons are integral to the US health system: while rural general surgeons provide a surgical support system to primary care physicians and keep small rural hospitals financially viable; urban general surgeons provide specialty services such as emergency and trauma services that other subspecialist surgeons cannot provide.

Dana Christian Lynge, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Washington, Seattle, examined the number of general surgeons per 100,000 Americans using the American Medical Association’s Physician Masterfiles taken in 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2005. They additionally noted the age, sex, and locale of the surgeons.

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