The Sad Reality of Surgeons and Suicidal Thoughts

Side Note: A recent study of almost 8,000 surgeons revealed that they contemplate suicide at a higher rate than the general public and that they are much less likely to seek mental health treatment. About 6% of surgeons had contemplated suicide, versus 3% of the general public. Among surgeons who recently made a medical error, that number jumped to 16% considering suicide –though it was not asked if this was the reason. Only about 25% of surgeons sought professional treatment, versus 44% of the general public. These numbers are tragic to us here at

Fear of seeking treatment for mental health-related issues is not unique to physicians. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma in this country around mental illness and its treatment. Many people don’t consider it a “real” illness and/or keep it a secret because they feel ashamed. Physicians are likely to feel this way, as members of the general public, but also have the added pressure, stigma and fear of possibly losing their license and/or their practice. Plus, surgeons operate in a career that expects perfection, mental and physical toughness (long hours, being on-call), and utter devotion at the expense of family or personal life. It is not surprising to us that surgeons are not likely to seek treatment.

Not to sound cliché, but while much of medicine is a science, a lot of it is also an art. And, surgeons are human and make mistakes. We here at understand this. As physician advocates, we work hard to provide our physicians and surgeons with low-cost liability coverage that will give them piece of mind. We know that you take pride in your work, value your patients and do your best to avoid making mistakes. Therefore, in addition to providing our physicians with med mal insurance, as a free service we also provide access to our Certified Healthcare Risk Manager (CPHRM).

Our Certified Healthcare Risk Manager (CPHRM), is here for you. He has over 30 years of experience in healthcare risk management, claims management and hospital safety. He has worked extensively with physicians answering questions about risk issues and claims. Prior to joining, he served at a metropolitan hospital as Director of Risk Management. He has earned several designations, including: Associate in Risk Management (ARM), and Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM) and he is an active member of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. Our CPHRM provides risk management email and phone consultations. He can advise on questions regarding office incidents, retention of records, withdrawal of service, and preparation for office assessments.

Are you a surgeon needing to lower your surgical liability policy premiums? If so, complete our free, no-obligation quote form today.

Study: Errors lead surgeons to contemplate suicide
LINDSEY TANNER | January 17, 2011 04:18 PM EST

CHICAGO — A study suggests medical errors, job burnout and depression lead surgeons to contemplate suicide at higher rates than the general public, and they’re much less likely to seek help.

Fear of losing their jobs contributes to surgeons’ reluctance to get mental health treatment, according to the study. Nearly 8,000 surgeons participated

Go to Original Article

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