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Stress leads to a cycle of medical mistakes

The medical field is bound to be stressful. Lives are on the line. Decisions have to be made quickly. Mistakes can get doctors fired.

Many take this on and live in this world every day. For others, the stress gets to be too much. It can lead to a cycle of mistakes when doctors become overwhelmed.

One woman told a story about a young doctor she knew in medical school. He became a surgeon. At first, he thought that it meant he could never be afraid of anything and that he had to have all of the answers.

Then he made a mistake. It wasn't a big one and no one passed away, but he got in trouble with his bosses. He felt terrible about it, and he vowed to read and study more so that it would never happen again. He was obsessed with his work.

As it cut into his time, though, he became exhausted. He would show up late for work because he slept in. He made more mistakes.

Each error just created more stress. Each one pushed him to study more and to work harder. That, rather than eliminating the errors, just led to more mistakes because he was constantly run down. In the end, he gave up on his dream and quit working in the medical field.

Patients need to know the effect that a high-stress working environment can have on doctors and other medical professionals. When it leads to serious errors in the operating room or the hospital, these patients should know how to seek financial compensation.

Source: The New York Times, "When Doctors Make Mistakes," Pauline W. Chen, accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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