Surgical errors are one of the main causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. In determining whether these errors are a result of stress, here’s what you need to know.
Stress and medical errors
Doctors, nurses and other health care providers are under intense pressure at work. This includes long working hours and the emotional toll of medical emergencies. This pressure can cause medical errors that harm patients.
Granted, stress can affect anyone’s mental abilities; it makes you more likely to make poor decisions, become forgetful or act impulsively. When doctors become stressed at work, they may not have the mental clarity to make medical decisions. In some cases, they may even have trouble carrying out medical procedures, which include surgery. Therefore, stressed medical professionals may be more likely than others to perform surgeries incorrectly.
Examples of surgical errors
There are many different ways that surgical errors occur. For example, a medical professional may make an error during surgery because they haven’t prepared properly or have misread medical records. Other times, it’s due to poor communication with other medical professionals helping out in the surgery. A surgeon may also forget to remove all surgical equipment from a patient.
Medical malpractice lawsuits
When a surgeon performs surgery on the wrong body part or makes another medical error, it’s typically a case of medical malpractice. Unfortunately, stress can complicate cases involving surgical mistakes. This is because there’s often no evidence that a doctor was under too much stress to make accurate medical decisions. For example, an orthopedic surgeon may have trouble completing a medical procedure because of the stress caused by medical emergencies in an emergency room.
It’s true that medical professionals under stress may be more likely to perform medical procedures incorrectly. Therefore, hospitals and other health care facilities should do more to reduce medical professionals’ stress.