Since the economic nosedive began, orthopedic surgeon Thomas Fehring, MD, has watched his 3-month patient wait list for joint replacement surgery shrink to about 6 weeks. Facing a recession, some patients will delay elective surgical procedures and some surgeons may postpone retirement as they wait for the economy to rebound. But Fehring and others say the country's economic woes cannot derail a projected shortage of surgeons that will endanger patient care in the coming years.
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Many national experts say trends point to an upcoming shortage of surgeons as the US population increases and grows older.
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