Unequal

Which doctors die first? Analysis of BMJ obituary columns

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7072.1581 (Published 21 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1581
  1. DJM Wright, reader in medical microbiologya,
  2. A P Roberts, senior lecturer in medical microbiologya
  1. a Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London W6 8RF
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Wright.

    The obituary columns of the BMJ have become more informative since editorial policy tried to encompass all medical deaths early in 1995. Our impression was that the new columns showed that doctors born in the Indian subcontinent died earlier than those born in the United Kingdom. We tested this impression in a systematic analysis.

    Methods and results

    We reviewed 572 obituaries in the BMJ from April 1995 to December 1995 and in the issue of 6 April 1996 for the doctor's age, country of birth, and specialty. Age at death was recorded in whole years, and the significance of the differences in means assessed using Student's t test. No correction for continuity was applied to take account of the month of death. To increase the size of groups for comparison, countries of origin and specialties were grouped as in …

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