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Physician burnout: How it impacts patients

 Posted on December 23, 2020 in Medical Malpractice


When you go to the doctor, you expect him or her to listen to your concerns with compassion and make thoughtful diagnoses and recommendations. You also probably expect that when you get admitted to the hospital or get surgery, you are in the capable hands of a devoted staff of medical professionals.

Unfortunately, this is not always the experience people have. Too often, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are burned out and fail to provide a standard level of care.

An increasingly troubling issue

A 2019 report from the National Academy of Medicine found that health workers are increasingly experiencing burnout. They are regularly overbooked. They must carry out tedious tasks using inefficient systems. They work in chaotic, high-pressure environments every day.

And rather than make systemic changes to the health care system to overhaul the factors driving burnout, the report argues that the medical community limits efforts to individuals. Instead of addressing workloads, it teaches doctors meditation or yoga. These efforts are not enough to alleviate the problem.

Patients pay the price

As upsetting as it is that medical workers are stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted, ultimately, the patients are the people who pay the price of burnout.

A doctor who is overworked and rushed for time can overlook critical details of a person's case. He or she can make mistakes when prescribing medicine or performing complex procedures.

A doctor who is frustrated may be careless with a diagnosis or dismissive of patient concerns. Doctors who are detached and apathetic may experience depression and substance abuse, compromising their ability to make decisions.

Burnout can put patients in danger of suffering consequences in the form of a preventable infection, a missed diagnosis or a surgical error. Their lives and health can be irreparably harmed.

Protecting against doctor errors

Holding a party responsible for medical malpractice and errors can be crucial. It may not result in systemic changes in the health care industry, but it can keep doctors and hospitals that facilitate dangerous practices accountable for their mistakes.

When your care is in the hands of a doctor or hospital, you should be able to expect that those hands are capable and compassionate. If they are not and you suffer a severe injury or illness, there may be legal remedies available. To determine your options, you can contact us at Kaiser Hafezi Law.

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