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Surgical errors linked to burnout by surgical residents

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2020 | Surgical Errors |

We all feel tired and overworked from time to time. Whether it is due to the demands of a professional life, personal life or a combination of both, feeling exhausted can impact a person in a wide range of ways. Focus, decision-making and performance could be compromised, and this is something patients in Oregon and elsewhere do not want of their doctors and medical professionals. However, the medical field is demanding, resulting in overworked and tired medical professionals making medical errors. While this is concerning for anyone working in the medical field, it is significantly alarming for those working as surgeons.

Burnout of surgical residents

A current study focused on the symptoms of burnout by general surgery residents and how often they experienced them. Roughly 7,000 surgical residents were surveyed, and it was determined that when researchers described the definition of burnout differently, there was a significant differences in how prevalent burnout was for the participants.

When burnout was defined as having the symptoms of either exhaustion or depersonalization a few times a year, 91% of the participants said they met this definition for burnout. If it was defined as being a daily symptom, then the burnout rate was reduced to 11%. In contrast, when asked if they experienced both symptoms at least once a year, 90% of residents confirmed this. When asked if they had both symptoms on a daily basis, this reduced to 3%.

Concern for surgical errors

Burnout among surgeons and medical professionals has highlighted many concerns. This is not only harmful to the mental and physical health of surgeons, but it has been linked to surgical mistakes. A surgical mistake could cause much harm to a patient. Whether it is performing the wrong surgery, performing the correct surgery to the wrong area of the body or patient or making errors during the procedure, this could compromise the health or even life of a patient.

If a medical error has been made and a patient suffers, there are steps a patient can take. A medical malpractice action may be the proper step to take. By fully understanding the matter, the cause of their harm and what party or parties are at fault, a harmed patient could seek compensation for any harms or damages suffered due to the medical errors made.


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