Th e emotional response of surgeons on collateral damage in Lagos, South-Western Nigeria
Ayodele Olurotimi Coker, Rowland Osuoji, Mobolaji Adewale Oludara
Background: The study aimed at investigating the significant complications in the career of surgeons, the effect of major complications on their psychological states, job performance, roles of colleagues, and how surgeons cope with their emotional reactions after a major complication or medical error. Methods: This study was a cross-sectional descriptive study that took place at three tertiary hospitals in Lagos State, Nigeria. 77 surgeons were recruited and they were asked to complete a questionnaire on emotional reactions after a major medical error. Results: The majority of the participants were males 72 (96%), 54 (68%) were within the age group 35-55 years, and 74 (98%) were married. The time of first emotionally impacting complication was during residency program 47 (62.7%). Only 18 (24%) agreed that it affected their professional functioning while 49 (65%) claimed that it did not impair their professional functioning. Of all the participants, only 2 (2.7%) sought outside professional treatment. A large number of the participants claimed they dealt with their negative emotional reactions by discussing with their surgical colleagues 44 (58.7%). Only 26 (34.7%) drank alcohol and 2 (2.7%) smoked cigarettes. The relationship between the variables and emotional response to surgical complications using Fishers exact test showed that there were no significant relationships. Conclusions: The time of first emotionally impacting complication occurred during residency program and as young consultants, and it affected their professional functioning. Hospital managers and policy makers should encourage medical doctors to seek necessary medical help when troubled emotionally. The negative emotional reactions of medical doctors should be given needed urgent attention by providing necessary supports for medical doctors in dire straits.