A new report shows that up to 54% of doctors and nurses in the U.S. are suffering from physician burnout. Statistically speaking, physician burnout is a top contributor to medical errors, with a 2018 Johns Hopkins study showing that medical malpractice is now the third-leading cause of death in the country. Determining that a medical error was caused by physician burnout can be tough, which is why you need a Lexington medical malpractice lawyer to investigate your case.

Study Shows Most Doctors and Nurses Suffer From Physician Burnout

A new October 2019 study by Consensus Study Report shows that healthcare worker burnout has reached an all-time high in the U.S., and can lead to medical mistakes and patient injuries. The national survey shows that between 35% and 54% of physicians, doctors, and nurses in the U.S. have symptoms of burnout, while nearly 80% of primary care doctors report suffering from workplace-related stress. Interestingly, the study concluded that nurses are burning out faster due to a severe imbalance in medical staff-to-patient ratios in hospitals.

Why is Physician Burnout Such a Big Deal?

Physician burnout can affect the quality of patient care and cause a doctor to breach the applicable standards of care. Breaches in the standard of care constitute medical malpractice. These breaches include but are not limited to:

  • Reducing medical staff to maximize worker loads
  • Failure to hire and train qualified healthcare providers
  • Practicing non-standard methods of medicine
  • Inability to address all patient needs due to understaffing
  • Ignoring Kentucky’s healthcare industry regulations

These and many other breaches in care can result in medical error-related injuries to patients due to:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Medical errors
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • Inadequate patient monitoring
  • Surgical errors
  • Foreign objects left in patients
  • Premature discharge
  • Using the improperly sterilized medical equipment
  • Failure to warn of side effects
  • Dental malpractice
  • Failure to consider medical history

Burnout Among Nurses in U.S. Hospitals

Nurses are the backbone of the U.S. healthcare industry. Unfortunately, because nurses are so vital to the normal functioning of the healthcare system, medical errors caused by nurse burnout can lead to irreparable harm. Nurses face burnout and work-related stress at alarming rates. Physician burnout and workplace stress in nurses is caused by multiple factors:

  • Excessive responsibilities
  • Longer working hours
  • Understaffing
  • Physical labor

Sadly, more often than not, most nurses and doctors fail to recognize the symptoms of burnout. These symptoms include:

  • High-stress levels
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low motivation levels
  • Suicidal thoughts

Physician Burnout: The Core of the Problem

Doctors who do not realize that they are suffering from physician burnout cannot efficiently address the problem. When a physician is trapped by his or her current practice and cannot escape the daily routine, it is a matter of time before they develop doctor burnout. There are cases when doctors and nurses are aware that they are suffering from physician burnout but refuse to address the problem because they cannot afford cutting work hours. These people need to earn a living to provide for their families, though they do not realize that if their preventable medical error caused by burnout leads to brain injury or other injuries, it could result in the loss of medical license.

Contact a Lexington medical malpractice lawyer at Roberts Law Office to investigate whether the negligent doctor was suffering from physician burnout when the medical error occurred. Call at (859) 231-0202 to schedule a free case evaluation.