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Research Letter
January 19, 2016

Association of Occupation as a Physician With Likelihood of Dying in a Hospital

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
  • 2National Longitudinal Mortality Study Branch, US Census Bureau, Suitland, Maryland
  • 3Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland
JAMA. 2016;315(3):301-303. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.16976

Although most people report a preference to die at home vs at a medical facility,1,2 most deaths occur in a hospital or nursing home.3 Some articles have proposed that physicians die after receiving less intensive medical care and in a manner more consistent with end-of-life preferences than the general population,4 although studies on this topic are lacking.5 This study compared location of death for physicians with that of other clinicians, non–health care professionals with similar education levels, and the general population.

We used the National Longitudinal Mortality Study, a prospective random national sample of noninstitutionalized individuals based on US Census Bureau surveys matched to the National Death Index.6 We included individuals aged 30 to 98 years who died between 1979 and 2011 and excluded those missing the location of death (n = 12 205). This study was deemed not to involve human subjects research by the New York University School of Medicine institutional review board.