We should not be surprised that surgeons, like everyone else, suffer from burnout and depression, according to a new study reported in The Annals of Surgery.  But we should be surprised, and alarmed, by the manner in which the burnout and depression affects patient care.

In this survey of 7,905 U.S. surgeons, almost 9% acknowledged having made a major error during the three months prior to the taking of the survey.  That is unsettling enough on its own.  But these were only the self-reported errors.  Imagine what the real numbers are.

This should serve as a reminder to the so-called tort reformers that serious medical errors remain a serious problem.  Thus far, none of the ideas proposed by tort “reformers” have addressed the root cause of the medical malpractice lawsuits that they constantly decry–medical errors that ruin or end patients’ lives.  Isn’t it time that their thinking evolved?

We’re here to listen.

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