A new study found that doctors who feel mentally fatigued, depressed or burnout could affect medical errors. These medical errors have led to 100,000 to 200,000 deaths per year.
Doctors Need A Break
A burnout is described as an emotional exhaustion or depersonalization, and according to the Institute of Medicine, more than half of doctors feel this way.
Researchers from the study examined physicians across the country to better understand the relationship between burnout and severe medical errors in the doctor's career. The study, conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine, surveyed over 6,00 active physicians and had them fill out a questionnaire, which asked about their levels of burnout, feelings of depression, fatigue, and their overall well-being.
The doctors were also asked to grade the safety of their workplace and note any medical errors that they may have made.
Over 10 percent of the doctors that participated claimed to have made a major medical error three months prior to the survey. Of those medical errors, 1 out of 20 were fatal. 55 percent of doctors claimed they the symptoms of burnout, 33 percent claimed they had had high levels of fatigue, and 6.5 percent claimed to have thoughts of suicide.
"When a physician is experiencing burnout, a wide range of adverse events may occur. In our study, the most common errors were errors in medical judgment, errors in diagnosing illness, and technical mistakes during procedures," lead author of the study, Dr. Daniel Tawfik, stated.
Suicide Among Medical Professionals
The study also found that medicals errors are more than twice as likely to occur when a physician has signs of burnout and also 38 percent more likely to happen if the doctor is fatigued. Doctors who reported medical errors are more than twice as likely to have thoughts of suicide in the past year. The study found that these medical errors can lead to a doctor developing depressive thoughts.
Dr. Jonathan Ripp, the senior associate dean for the Well-Being and Resilience at Mount Sinai Hospital stated that the major problem is the complexity of the healthcare system. Dr. Ripp continued that for every hour a doctor spends with a patient, they spend two hours filling out the paperwork. Ripp also stated that even though hospitals have physician wellness programs, there are still more that needs to change that will give doctors less burnout.
The researchers of the study are hoping that this new information will solve this epidemic. This study was published in the journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
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3 June 2018