Surgeons experiencing burnout, worried about medical errors

A new study of surgeons has concluded that they're tapped out and may be making more mistakes than people think. The survey, designed to measure burnout and assess surgeons' quality of life, found that nine percent of surgeons were afraid they'd made a "major medical error" within the past three months alone.

The study, which appeared in the Annals of Surgery, was based on a survey commisioned by the American College of Surgeons. It concludes that 40 percent of those who responded were "burned out," and that 30 percent showed symptoms of depression.

Researchers found that surgeons who said they'd made an error showed more signs of emotional exhaustion and depression than their peers, though it's not clear whether their state caused the errors or the errors generated bad feelings.

The survey went out to 25,000 surgeons, and just under 8,000 of them responded to the request, the authors note.

To find out more about the study:
- read this Wall Street Journal Health Blog item

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