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SURGERY OF THE ELDERLY

John D. Stewart, M.D.; Guy S. Alfano, M.D.
JAMA. 1954;154(8):643-646. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940420005002.
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The relative and absolute increase in the number of elderly persons in this country is a statistical fact that the medical profession must face. The elderly, as a group, are less able to pay for private medical care, and therefore they comprise an enlarging proportion of the clinical material available for ward teaching. The situation is not entirely without advantages on a surgical service. The lowered physiological reserve of the aged, the high incidence of concomitant disease, and the too commonly advanced nature of their surgical lesions constitute a challenge and demand the best the surgeon and his team can give. Much can be learned from close attention to the surgical care of the aged, and principles of broad significance must be reckoned with. Such points form the basis for an expanding literature dealing with the surgery of the elderly.1

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