Study: Burnout, depression affect likelihood of American surgeons committing errors

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

November 25, 2009

Some surgeons are likely to commit medical errors if they are suffering from burnout and depressions, according to a study published this week in the online version of the Annals of Surgery.

The study, which was led by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, found that nearly 9% of the 7,905 surgeons involved in the study reported having committed an error while in surgery during the previous three months. More than 70% of them said that these errors were the result of burnout and emotional exhaustion rather than because of poorly designed healthcare systems and processes, reports Science Codex.

The researchers say that this study shows that poor mental health and stress felt by surgeons negatively effects patient care, and that reducing work hours is not the only way to alleviate this stress—burnout must also be addressed.

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