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Could Alcohol Abuse By Surgeons Lead to Medical Errors?

As San Diego medical malpractice attorneys, we are concerned by a new report that suggests that surgeons are at higher risk for alcoholism. Even more alarming, doctors who show signs of alcohol abuse may be more prone to medical errors.

Researchers, led by Dr. Michael Oreskovich at the University of Washington, found that approximately 15 percent of surgeons have alcohol abuse or dependency problems, which is notably higher than that of the general population. In addition, the survey also revealed that surgeons who showed signs of alcoholism were 45 percent more likely to admit that they had made a major medical error in the past three months.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, although the study did not determine why alcohol problems might be more common among surgeons, the demanding nature of their jobs could play a part.

“The nature of the beast is that the percent of emergencies, the percent of after-hours work and actual scheduled work itself all require an energy and concentration that is really different than a lot of the other specialties,” Oreskovich said.

If you or someone you love has suffered from a medical error, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.