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Physician Burnout

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Mar 19, 2018

Although most people who make an appointment to see a doctor are concerned with their own health and not the emotional or physical health of the physician, a series of recently published studies indicates that many patients should begin taking these factors into consideration, as physician burnout and depression have been linked to a higher rate of medical errors. Physician neglect, whether due to their own health problems or another cause, can have devastating consequences for patients who are misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, these types of serious mistakes occur at an alarming rate, so if you suffered an injury as a result of a physician’s error, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney who can help ensure that you are compensated for your injuries.

The Consequences of Burnout

When attempting to measure emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and feelings of incompetence amongst physicians, researchers use the Maslach burnout inventory. While the results of these tests reveal that physicians tend to feel a great sense of personal accomplishment in their work, they also tend to have higher rates of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization than those in other professions. Often referred to as compassion fatigue, this phenomenon has been shown to lead to a cynical and an even dehumanized attitude towards patients seeking their help. For instance, burnout rates among those enrolled in pediatric training institutions affect as many as 55 to 60 percent of residents, while medical faculty members tend to burnout at the lower rate of 20 to 49 percent.

Unfortunately, even reducing resident work hours does not seem to have a significant impact on physician depression, which is often attributed to the fact that patient loads remain high, hospitalized patients tend to be sicker, and physicians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the time pressures connected to electronic health records and documentation.

Medical Errors

Recently published research has also revealed a clear link between physician depression and medical errors. In fact, in one study, pediatric physicians who were depressed made more than six times as many prescribing errors as physicians who were not depressed. Burnout, on the other hand, has not been shown to lead to an increase in medication errors, although physicians suffering from burnout do tend to perceive that they are making more mistakes than they actually are, which could affect their actual performance.

Medical errors, such as prescribing the wrong medication can lead to serious health complications for patients, some of which can be deadly. The costs associated with treating related health conditions are notoriously high, often leaving injured parties to struggle with mounting medical debt. Fortunately, those who are injured as a result of a doctor’s negligence can and should collect compensation from the at-fault party for their losses.

Get the Legal Representation You Deserve

If you were misdiagnosed by a physician or otherwise suffered an injury as a result of a doctor’s negligence, please contact Cohen, Placitella, & Roth, P.C. Attorneys at Law at (866) 291-7088 to schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated medical malpractice attorneys. A member of our legal team is standing by and eager to help you throughout each step of your case.

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