According to the results of a national survey, over half of the physicians around the country are burned out. As a result, there is a higher chance that they will make medical errors.
For the survey, almost 6,700 hospital and clinic physicians were asked questions about safety in the workplace, medical errors and indications of fatigue, workplace burnout, suicidal thoughts and depression. Over 10 percent of the respondents stated that they were responsible for at least one major medical error within the last three months prior to the survey. After evaluating the responses, investigators determined that the physicians who were burned out were two times as likely to commit a medical error.
According to the lead author of the survey, burnout is a work-related condition with symptoms that include emotional cynicism and exhaustion and a drop in effectiveness. While the reversible condition affects more than just physicians, it is especially prevalent in jobs--like those in the medical field--where there are significant levels of stress and a high degree of human interaction.
Multiple adverse events are likely to occur if a physician is exhibiting symptoms of burnout. According to the results of the study, the most frequently occurring errors were related to the diagnosing of medical conditions, technical errors committed during medical procedures and errors in medical judgment. There are additional studies that have demonstrated the association between burnout and the improper prescription or dosage of drugs or the ordering of an excessive or insufficient number of lab tests.
Doctor errors result in far too many deaths each year. The surviving family members of a patient who was the victim of this type of medical malpractice might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for their losses.