A new study recently found that a significant percentage of depressed or burned-out surgeons believe they have committed major medical errors.
The study, published online by Annals of Surgery last month, found that of 7,905 surgeons surveyed, almost 9 percent—700 surgeons—were concerned that they had made a major medical error in the three months before the survey. Researchers found a significant correlation between the incidents and emotional exhaustion or depression. They found no link between surgeon fatigue and medical errors.
Research into the effect of physicians’ emotional well-being on the quality of care is relatively new. After the Institute of Medicine (IOM) famously reported in 1999 that as many as 98,000 patients die every year from medical mistakes, error prevention efforts focused primarily on physicians’ busy schedules and lack of sleep.
Most recently, a study published in October by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found an increased risk of complications when surgeons worked overnight and got less than six hours of sleep during an extended shift. A September JAMA study similarly found that fatigue and distress were associated with more errors by internal medicine residents.
My Question: Can someone explain to me why we don’t need to overall the American Healthcare System?