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Depressed doctors commit more medical errors

Doctors in Connecticut may experience depression just like anyone else. However, when a doctor is feeling down, patients may be at an increased risk of harm from medical errors. According to a recent meta-analysis of studies, doctors who experience depressive symptoms admit to making more medical errors in their practice. Researchers also found that doctors who have made medical mistakes in the past might be more likely to become depressed.

Most of the data that was looked at in the meta-analysis came from new physicians who were still being trained on the job. Early-career doctors, including medical students and physicians in residency, were found to have a 30% depression rate. Doctors self-reported medical errors in all but one of the surveys analyzed.

Researchers found that there was an association between depression and increased medical errors that was bidirectional. One researcher said that doctors who have harmed patients might be experiencing feelings of guilt and depression as well as the fear of being sued. Doctors who practice more specialized surgeries were found to have a higher risk for medical errors than doctors who do not specialize in surgeries.

For patients, the consequences of a doctor making a mistake on the job can be life changing or fatal. Mistakes that are committed during surgery can lead to a patient requiring more surgeries to correct the error. If a patient has been harmed by medical malpractice, they may wish to sue for financial compensation. A lawyer could help an injured patient gather expert witnesses and testimony to prove that a doctor's negligence led to their injuries.

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