stethoscope, pen, papers

Every day, numerous Tennessee residents have surgery performed for a variety of reasons. In non-emergent cases, patients can pick their doctors, giving them time to research physician qualifications and experience. In emergent cases, one just has to hope that the physician on the clock or on call is good at his or her job. No matter how qualified a surgeon is said to be, a recent report claims that stress during surgery can cause even the best physicians to make mistakes, leaving their patients with some level of personal injury or causing patient death.

According to the report, every year anywhere from 250,000 to 440,000 deaths in the United States are related to medical errors — many of which occur in operating rooms. Many more individuals suffer injuries due to medical mistakes. A study out of Columbia University claims that surgeons make significantly more mistakes during times of stress in the OR.

What kind of stress is this study talking about? Researchers looked at things that would cause short-term stress — such as loud noises, negative thoughts and other unexpected interruptions. In other words, things that distract a surgeon from what he or she is doing. They monitored surgeons’ heart rates during procedures to see what distractions caused their heart rates to increase, as is typically seen when a person is stressed. Researchers are hoping that by identifying certain issues that cause surgeons to experience short-term stress, new protocols can be put into place that will reduce these issues and, in turn, reduce surgical errors.

Even the most gifted surgeon can make a mistake. Medical providers are human and mistakes are a part of life. This does not mean that the victim of such of mistake, or — in the event of fatality — his or her surviving family members, should have to tackle the resulting physical, financial and/or emotional fallout that is sure to come all alone. When medical negligence is suspected, Tennessee residents can seek compensation for their losses by filing personal injury and any other applicable claims against the responsible party or parties.