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Physician burnout could lead to medical errors

It is no secret that practicing medicine is a demanding and challenging job. Due to the demands of their career and their workplace environment, many physicians across the United States experience a condition referred to as 'physician burnout.' This burnout often causes them to suffer from emotional and physical exhaustion and depression and leads them to detach from their patients. According to a recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, physician burnout can cause doctors to make medical errors that harm patients.

Researchers at Stanford University of Medicine anonymously surveyed over 6,600 practicing doctors, asking them questions relating to their mental and physical well-being, medical errors, and the safety of their workplace. Approximately 55 percent of physicians surveyed reported experiencing symptoms of burnout and 33 percent were experiencing high levels of fatigue.

According to the results, over 10 percent of doctors surveyed said they had made major medical mistakes in the three months leading up to the survey, and 1 in 20 of these errors were reportedly fatal. The study showed that physicians with signs of burnout were twice as likely to make medical errors. Doctors suffering from fatigue are apparently even worse off, as they are 38 percent more likely to make mistakes.

Some of the most common errors reported included errors in judgment, failure to properly diagnose an illness or injury, and technical errors. Radiologists, neurosurgeons, and emergency room doctors had the highest numbers of reported errors, and pediatricians, physiatrists, and anesthesiologists had the lowest.

If you believe that you were harmed as a result of your doctor's inadequate or negligent care, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. Consider speaking to a Stockton attorney for more information and a thorough review of your case.

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