Medication Errors More Common Among Depressed Trainees

News in Context |
February 11, 2008

Medication Errors More Common Among Depressed Trainees

Depressed pediatrics residents commit more medication errors than their nondepressed colleagues, BMJ reports.

Some 120 residents at three U.S. children's hospitals were screened for depression and burnout, and prospective data on medical errors were derived from patient charts, medication orders, and staff reports. Overall, 20% of the residents met criteria for depression and 75% for burnout. Of roughly 6000 medication orders written during the study, 0.7% involved errors.

In analyses adjusted for factors including postgraduate year, depressed residents were significantly more likely than nondepressed residents to commit errors, while error rates were similar among burnt out and non-burnt out participants.

The authors say their results indicate that “[residents'] mental health may be a more important contributor to patient safety than previously suspected,” while editorialists call the findings “far from conclusive,” given, in part, the small sample size.

LINKS:

BMJ article (Free)

BMJ editorial (Subscription required)

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