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Study finds doctor burnout to blame for many medical errors

New York residents who have experienced complications from medical errors may be interested to learn that according to a national survey, some of those errors could be a result of burnout. The survey asked approximately 6,700 physicians who worked in clinics and hospitals about workplace burnout, medical errors and workplace safety.

More than 10 percent of the participants reported that they had committed at least one medical error within three months of leading up to their participation in the study. Based on the result, the investigators involved concluded that physicians who were experiencing doctor burnout were more than twice as likely to make a medical mistake. This may have been due to that fact that burnout can have an impact on a physician's medical judgement, particularly when diagnosing illnesses, and technical mistakes when they are conducting procedures.

It is thought that approximately 33 percent to 50 percent of doctors across the U.S. are experiencing burnout symptoms at any given time. In the survey, more than 55 percent reported experiencing the symptoms of burnout. Approximately 33 percent said that they experienced excessive fatigue while 6.5 percent said that they contemplated suicide. In the healthcare facilities where physician burnout was determined to be a common problem, the medical error rate was tripled when compared to facilities that did not have medical burnout problems.

When a medical error occurs, a patient could experience setbacks in his or her recovery, be given a wrong or delayed diagnosis or even experience a life-threatening complication. Even if burnout was a cause of the doctor error, the patient may still have the ability to file a medical malpractice claim against the hospital for the medical error. A medical malpractice attorney may help file the claim against the hospital and the doctor while determining the courses of action that the harmed patient could take.

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