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Surgeons Plus Burnout Equals Medical Malpractice

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Nov 26, 2009 | 0 Comments

We should not be surprised that surgeons, like everyone else, suffer from burnout and depression, according to a new study reported in The Annals of Surgery.  But we should be surprised, and alarmed, by the manner in which the burnout and depression affects patient care.

In this survey of 7,905 U.S. surgeons, almost 9% acknowledged having made a major error during the three months prior to the taking of the survey.  That is unsettling enough on its own.  But these were only the self-reported errors.  Imagine what the real numbers are.

This should serve as a reminder to the so-called tort reformers that serious medical errors remain a serious problem.  Thus far, none of the ideas proposed by tort “reformers” have addressed the root cause of the medical malpractice lawsuits that they constantly decry–medical errors that ruin or end patients' lives.  Isn't it time that their thinking evolved?

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


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$7.9 million dollars for infant client who suffered severe brain injuries due to post- delivery medical malpractice.

$500,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement on behalf of patient brought to hospital emergency room with serious injuries who suffered complications while unmonitored and died.

$425,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of senior hospital patient whose surgeon failed to timely address her worsening symptoms, resulting in her death.

$250,000 to young man whose physician failed to diagnose an impending torsion testicle, causing the loss of the affected testicle.

$200,000 to young mother whose OB/GYN failed to timely diagnose and treat her ectopic pregnancy, resulting in excruciating, long-term pain and the need for surgery to address the ectopic pregnancy once it was diagnosed.