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People depend on surgeons to perform essential – and in many cases life-saving – procedures. Unfortunately, a new study indicates that patients may want to think twice about trusting their lives to some surgeons.

According to a new survey conducted by Dr. Michael Oreskovich at the University of Washington, approximately 15 percent of surgeons have alcohol abuse or dependency problems. While 15 percent may not seem high at first glance, it is a slightly higher rate than the population of the U.S. at large, which is estimated to be nine percent. The study did not speculate why alcohol abuse and dependency is so prevalent among surgeons, but it does raise the possibility that these issues may be a cause of surgical errors.

Link to Errors Possible

Of the surgeons surveyed by Oreskovich, 722 reported that they had made a major medical error in the past three months. Of those 722, 77 percent scored within the rage specified by the study as having a problem with alcohol.

Critics of the study point out that while Oreskovich sent the survey to 25,000 surgeons, only 7,200 replied. Because of this low response rate, the implications of the study remain unclear. Oreskovich points out that the study may even under-represent the number of surgeons with alcohol problems because those dealing with dependency may be afraid to respond to these types of surveys. Everyone agrees, however, that further research is necessary.

An Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you love has suffered injury because of the negligence of a surgeon, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A medical malpractice lawyer can assess your case and help you get the compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you deserve. For more information, contact an attorney today.