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Depressed Docs Make More Errors

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, February 08, 2008 11:42 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Medical Malpractice, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Wrongful Death

Doctors described as depressed make about six times more medical errors a study finds.

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Depression in young doctors is being tied to an increase in medical errors. A study finds they are six times more likely to make an error in medication than those who are not depressed.

The study surveyed 123 pediatric residents at three U.S. pediatric hospitals. Among the residents about one out of five was depressed, double the rate of the general population

The majority -  74 percent - were described as "burned out" which is described as depression related to work only.

45 medical errors were made with those described as "depressed" making 6.2 more of them when compared to the doctors who were "burned out" . 

The study is published February 7th in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers conclude it may be time to rethink the training of young doctors and how that impacts a patients' outcome.  Every year more than 98,000 patients die from medical errors partially due to the stress of resident training.

Work hour limits have been implemented for medical residents in this country. Before the nationwide change residents worked 80 to 120 hours a week. Now all residents are limited to 80 hours per week.  This research was concluded before those restrictions. #


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