Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the world. According to recent studies, many cases of it arise because doctors and nurses are burned out. Pennsylvania residents should know about a national survey that claims that more than half of all doctors in the U.S. are burned out. This survey, which was published in July, involved nearly 6,700 clinic and hospital physicians.
More than 10 percent admitted that they made a significant medical error in the three months prior to the survey. These errors included technical mistakes, errors in medical judgment and misdiagnoses. Burned-out doctors were more liable to prescribe the wrong drugs or the wrong dosage, order too many or too few lab tests and cause patients to fall or become infected.
Doctors are not the only ones who tend to suffer burnout. In fact, burnout can apply to anyone who works in an environment with high-stress levels and intense interactions with other people. Burnout is characterized by emotional fatigue and decreased effectiveness. It can also be accompanied by cynical and even suicidal thoughts. Investigators found that those surveyed who had burnout were twice as likely to make an error.
To prevent burnout, medical centers are encouraged to limit work hours and paperwork load for doctors. Some centers have initiated system-level changes by hiring “chief wellness officers” for their employees.
Doctor errors can form the basis for a medical malpractice claim, but for one to be successful, the victim must show that the doctor did not live up to an objective standard of care. The other side will question the extent of the injuries, so the victim must show they are all malpractice related. These are some of the reasons why it’s important to have a lawyer for a malpractice case. The lawyer could speak on the victim’s behalf at the negotiation table or in court.