Study Suggests Depressed Physicians Have Higher Risk of Making Medical Errors

A recent study published in the medical journal, JAMA Network Open, found that physician depressive symptoms were associated with medical errors. Researchers conducted a systematic review and analysis of 11 studies involving nearly 22,000 physicians and concluded that physicians with a positive screening for depressive symptoms have a 95% higher risk of committing medical errors. The study admittedly has some limitations. For example, the study explains that because 10 of the 11 studies that were reviewed relied on self-report measures of medical errors which may have introduced bias to the results. Nevertheless, these findings are alarming given the prevalence of depression among physicians. Medical errors are a major source of patient harm in the United States with as many as 98,000-250,000 patients dying each year as a result of a preventable adverse medical event.

Depression, however, does not excuse medical malpractice. Regardless of the underlying reason for the malpractice, physicians must be held accountable for their medical errors. The attorneys at Abramson, Brown & Dugan have vast experience handling medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of medical error, contact one of our experienced attorneys today.