For the vast majority of physicians in Pennsylvania and all across the nation, being a doctor or nurse means working long shifts in a high-stress environment. In fact, most medical professionals grow accustomed to working so much and resting so little to the point when they can no longer recognize signs of burnout.

Physician burnout occurs when a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, surgeon, or any other medical professional continues to work long hours under stressful situations for a prolonged period of time.

Studies reveal the dangers of physician burnout

“So what? Working long shifts means treating more patients and saving more lives, so what’s the big deal?” some of you might wonder. Let our Philadelphia physician burnout attorney from The Weitz Firm, LLC, give you a research-based explanation of why overworked doctors should not be allowed to treat patients, because doctor burnout leads to major medical errors.

  • According to a 2018 survey by the Stanford University School of Medicine, 55 percent of physicians across the U.S. admitted to having symptoms of burnout, while 33 percent of others admitted to suffering from high levels of fatigue, and nearly 7 percent said they had suicidal thoughts.
  • A 2018 physician workload survey by showed that 55 percent of physicians admit that they had considered leaving the field of medicine due to excessive workload and paperwork.
  • The same survey also found that most doctors have a problem with recognizing symptoms of their own burnout, while it’s much easier for them to notice burnout in their colleagues (74 percent said they noticed signs of burnout in other doctors, while only 52 percent admitted to having symptoms of burnout);
  • Interestingly, the same study also found that physicians are more likely to suffer from burnout later in their careers;
  • A separate study by Mayo Clinic Proceedings concluded that the vast majority of all physicians in the U.S. have burnout, while 45 percent report excessive fatigue. The same study also found that approximately 10 percent of burned-out doctors admit to making “at least one major medical error during the prior three months.”

Physician burnout as a form of medical malpractice

Researchers warn that the epidemic of physician burnout and overworked doctors across the nation breeds more medical errors than unsafe medical conditions. The sad reality is that most physicians fail to recognize symptoms of burnout such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, difficulties with concentration, and even suicidal thoughts, among other mental and physical symptoms.

Unfortunately, many of those who do realize that they are suffering from burnout are unable to efficiently combat doctor burnout. That’s because many physicians feel trapped by their current practice and are unable to escape their daily routine. This can take a toll when endured for a prolonged period of time. For some, cutting work hours may do the trick to prevent or combat burnout, while others find it helpful to relocate to another facility or medical practice.

However, many burned-out and overworked physicians refuse to do anything about their burnout due to their reluctance to work less, because they need to earn a living and provide for their families. However, many of them seem to not realize that doctor burnout can lead to preventable medical errors and negligence, which can eventually result in the loss of medical license.

Our experienced physician burnout attorney in Philadelphia explains that you may be able to sue your doctor or hospital for medical malpractice if you can prove that you were injured in the course of medical treatment or procedure because of an overworked or burned-out doctor.

Talk to our medical malpractice lawyers at The Weitz Firm, LLC, to discuss your particular case. Call our offices at 267-587-6240 to schedule a free consultation.

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