Most medical errors made by young physicians can be blamed on poor judgment, teamwork breakdown, and / or inadequate technical skill, according to a new study recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study involved a comprehensive review of the closed medical malpractice claims of 5 major insurance companies, collected from 1984 to 2004.
Among the 240 trainee malpractice cases reviewed by researchers, 72% involved errors in medical judgment, 70% involved teamwork breakdowns, and 58% involved a lack of technical competence. Errors made by trainees were also likely to be particularly complicated, while those made by more experienced doctors were likely to be less complex in nature.
The authors of the study note that a lack of competent supervision clearly contributes to the likelihood that a young physician will make a serious mistake, and they recommend that graduate medical education reform should address this shortcoming in current medical training.
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