Stressed Surgeons Make Significantly More Mistakes

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A Columbia University study revealed surgeons who are stressed make 66% more mistakes in the operating room than they would otherwise make.

Medical mistakes cause anywhere from 250,000 to 440,000 deaths in the United States every year.  Translation: medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer.  Errors in the operating room cause a large number of those deaths.  Medical negligence attorneys help those who are victims of medical negligence in the operating room.

About the Study

The study incorporated technology similar to the shirts given to athletes to measure precise physiological data during workouts. The shirt can measure the electrical activity of the surgeon’s heart. During short-term stress intervals, surgeons were more prone to make errors which might lead to burns, torn tissues, inadvertent cuts, or bleeding complications.

The study collected laparoscopic video recordings of surgeons in the operating room while performing surgical procedures. Another researcher would then review the tapes as well, documenting mistakes made by the surgeon.

With clinical quality now connected to reimbursement using a value-based structure, such mistakes do have the potential to destroy the brand reputation and overall bottom line of the medical facility where the mistakes occur.

The Results

The study also pointed out that operating room conditions can themselves cause stress on the surgeon.  Items such as periodic sounding monitors or alarms (either normal or abnormal), equipment malfunctions, and people going in and out of the surgical suite, along with side conversations between others in the operating room, can all inadvertently lead to additional stress being placed on the surgeon.

The goal of the research is to ultimately show the importance of reducing stress for surgeons to improve the safety of patients undergoing surgery.

Getting Help from a Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Attorney

It’s no secret that surgeons and staff carry stress into the operating room, yet when these stresses cause errors and medical mistakes, it is patients and family members who suffer the most.

If you have been a victim of medical malpractice due to a surgical error, you should consult with an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney.  Contact the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. at (310) 289-2600 for a free initial consultation.

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