Depression ups risk of errors

Trainee doctors who are depressed are more than six times as likely to make medication errors as their non-depressed peers, US research has shown.

In UK hospitals, adverse events occur in one in 10 admissions. The latest study involved 123 junior doctors working in paediatrics, where prescribing is complicated by off-label use of drugs and non-standardised doses of medication. Twenty per cent had depression and 74 per cent met criteria for burn out.

Looking at the rate of medication errors made revealed that depressed residents made 6.2 times as many errors as those without depression.

BMJ Online 2008

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