Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Suicidal surgeons

A U.S. study by researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has found alarming levels of depression and suicidal thoughts among surgeons. Doctors are known to have a higher suicide rate than the rest of the population but this is thought to be because they have access to, and knowledge about, drugs. 7,905 surgeons - a response rate of 31.7% - answered a survey about depression and suicidal thoughts. 6.3% said they had thought about killing themselves in the last year. Older surgeons were more likely to report suicidal thoughts with surgeons who were 45 or over having one-and-a-half to three times the rate of suicidal thoughts as the rest of the population. Being married and having children were associated with lower levels of suicidal thoughts but being divorced raised the risk as did recently having made a surgical error or suffering from burnout. Only 26% of those who had had suicidal thoughts had sought help from a psychiatrist or psychologist.

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