Health care and medical professionals surveyed by the National Academy of Medicine disclosed that they experience substantial burnout symptoms. As reported by The Washington Post, half of the nation’s doctors and nurses working under stress contribute to medical malpractice issues and increased risks of causing harm to their patients.
While it may appear as though it is mainly a case of working long hours, burnout may also coincide with other issues such as substance abuse, failed relationships and depression. Whether the cause is an overwhelming amount of paperwork, long hours or a broken health care system, the suicide rate among physicians is reportedly twice as high as the general U.S. population.
Performing surgery under stress
It is not hard to imagine that dealing with life-and-death emergencies on a regular basis will result in an overall state of exhaustion. It may also prove a significant factor in causing catastrophic medical mistakes. According to a study reported by ScienceDaily, surgeons whose heart rates increase from stress could cause greater than 60% more errors while performing surgery. A loss of focus during an operation or procedure may also result in a devastating injury or worsen a patient’s condition.
As reported by Columbia Magazine, pinpointing a surgeon’s cause of stressful distractions may lead to hospitals implementing protocols that result in safer operations. A hospital owes a duty of care to its patients’ well-being, and failing to provide physicians with resources to carry out successful surgeries may represent a breach of that duty. The end result could be a harmed patient and a negligence lawsuit filed against both the doctor and the hospital.
Holding parties liable for injuries
Medical malpractice requires proof that a physician deviated from the standard of care expected of a practitioner. Whether making a mistake, error or omission, if it occurred while providing a patient with surgical services, a doctor may face a legal action for malpractice. When a hospital or health care facility contributed to an environment that aided in preventable mistakes, patients may hold the facility responsible for injuries and damages.