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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Suicide risk for US surgeons twice higher than public

Xinhuanet reported on Tuesday an American College of Surgeons-commissioned study which says that about 6 percent of US surgeons have suicidal thoughts compared to 3 percent of the general population.
According to the new study that was published in the Archives of Surgery this January, one in 16 surgeons entertain these self-destructive thoughts and are not likely to look for help.
Dr. Kevin Petersen told 8Newsnow, "I've been in practice for 25 years, and I've seen the stress of surgeons just go up every single year. I know doctors that have committed suicide."
Petersen said that financial pressures is a factor that is becoming common among surgeons.
He said that insurance companies paid him $1,800 for hernia repairs in 1986. Now, the same procedure are paid only $400 by the insurance companies.
The 2008 study which involved 7,905 doctors also revealed that suicide may be brought about by burnout from job, depression and medical errors, said in a statement by Tait Shanafelt of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Unfortunately, only 25 percent of surgeons with suicide thoughts have sought psychiatric or psychological evaluation, Shanafelt added.
The reason for the reluctance to seek help was the fear of losing job.
Surgeons who are 45 years of age and older had 1.5 to three times the rate of suicidal thinking than the rest of the population.

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