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Stress and fatigue: reasons for treatment errors by doctors.
(June 23, 2010) Today, the German Medical Association in Berlin presented the current statistics on medical treatment errors. It was striking that the number of treatment errors remained constant compared to the previous year. A total of 7424 cases were submitted to the medical commission and medical arbitration board for processing in 2009. In 2184 cases, an error in treatment was confirmed by the expert commission. A quarter of the cases resulted in health damage for the patient. Treatment errors for hip and knee arthrosis and fractures of the arms, legs and ankles were found most frequently - in particular in the area of accident surgery. In around 70 percent of the cases submitted to the arbitration board, no medical treatment errors were confirmed.
The test center of the German Medical Association has been in existence since 1975 and is highly valued by patients and doctors as an independent institution. At the presentation of the study, chairman Andreas Crusius said: "The expert committees and arbitration boards enjoy a high level of acceptance among patients and doctors". In about 90 percent of the cases submitted, all parties involved accept an arbitration award. Only 10 percent are suing in court despite attempts to arbitrate.
Arbitration board of the medical profession for patients free of charge and without obligation.
An examination of the cases at the arbitration board of the Medical Association is free of charge for the applicant. A legal dispute is still possible afterwards if no agreement could be found. Crusius explains: "This gives the patient the opportunity to request an objective assessment free of charge and without red tape".
There are many reasons for treatment errors. However, it is always noticeable that many treatment errors occur because doctors complain of overload and stress at the workplace. Doctors who are constantly overworked also make mistakes. Many mistakes were made in the area of intensive care because there were insufficient arrangements with the nursing staff. Some doctors are in constant use for 24 hours. Medical errors can be expensive for doctors. A doctor was sentenced to a fine of 70,000 euros on Tuesday because the doctor recognized colon cancer too late. (sb)