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Reducing stress could result in less medical errors

Studying how stress impacts a surgeon’s work in the operating room could prevent injuries and deaths related to medical errors. Iowa residents might like to know more about the results of a study from Columbia University that reported that mistakes were 66 percent more common during tense situations.

Operating room mistakes help contribute to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused every year by medical errors. Stressful moments could improve the chances of making a mistake, and a surgeon might feel stressed due to loud noises or negative thoughts. For this study, a surgeon wore a Hexoskin Smart Shirt when operating. This showed the electrical activity of the surgeon’s heart, and laparoscopic video was also used to record the surgeon. Researchers were able to measure heartbeat data and identify moments of high stress. Researchers also watched the video for errors to examine the relationship between short-term stress and surgical mistakes.

Commonplace distractions occur often in operating rooms. This might involve people talking or equipment malfunctioning. If these distractions cause stress, changes may be warranted to reduce errors. Another method for reducing errors may be more roundabout and deals with the emotional intelligence of physicians. Educational curriculum was given to physicians in training in the hopes of preventing burnout. Researchers from Loyola Medicine measured emotional intelligence before and after the educational programs. At the end of the curriculum, the physicians in training reported more emotional intelligence, which also resulted in better overall wellness and stress management skills.

Stress is one element that might lead to preventable doctor errors, and people who have been harmed might want to meet with an attorney to discuss their situation. A successful medical malpractice claim requires the showing that the health care practitioner failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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