The Associated Press has reported that injured patients may not be the only victims of medical errors — physicians, even if a medical error they commit was just a near miss, can suffer from increased stress, loss of confidence, anxiety and sleep disruption.
The AP story references a study done by psychologist Amy Waterman at Washington University. In the study, about 3,200 doctors returned questionnaires and 92 percent said that they had been involved in a serious or minor medical error, or at least a near miss. Only 10 percent of the doctors’ hospitals offered resources for dealing with error-based stress.
The results of the study were published in the Aug. 2007 edition of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
The story quoted Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor and head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement as saying, “‘Nobody thinks that this excuses or should minimize’ the suffering of patients harmed by errors, but it is important to emphasize that doctors suffer, too.”