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Medical errors and physician burnout

Over 50 percent of the physicians in New Jersey and the rest of country are burned out according to a survey of almost 6,700 hospital and clinic physicians. The participants were asked about safety in the workplace, medical errors, depression, suicidal thoughts, fatigue and indications of workplace burnout.

Approximately 10 percent stated that they had made at least one serious medical error within the last three months before the survey. The survey investigators determined from the results that physicians who were burned out had twice the likelihood of committing a medical mistake.

According to the lead author of the study, burnout is a condition that causes emotional exhaustion, cynicism and a reduction in effectiveness. While the work-related syndrome can be experienced by individuals in many other fields, it is very common in occupations in which there are significant interactions with people and high levels of stress, like those in the medical field.

Physicians who are suffering from burnout may be responsible for a number of adverse events. They include mistakes in diagnosing errors, technical errors during medical procedures and errors in medical judgement.

There are additional studies that have demonstrated an association between burnout and actions that result in patients developing infections, falling or dying prematurely. Burnout is also associated with the improper prescribing or dosing of medication as well as the insufficient or excessive ordering of lab tests.

An attorney who practices medical malpractice law may work to obtain financial compensation on behalf of clients who have been victims of negligent medical care. The attorney may file lawsuits against medical personnel and medical facilities for the misdiagnosis that resulted in unnecessary treatment. Physicians may be pursued for financial damages for writing incorrect prescriptions, conducting unnecessary and invasive tests or other actions that resulted in a worsened condition.

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