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Study finds doctor burnout leads to increased risk of error

Medical professionals work long hours, often in highly stressful environments. As such, it is no surprise that many doctors find themselves battling professional burnout. It is important to address any feeling of emotional exhaustion — according to a recent study this form of burnout can lead to double the risk of a patient safety incident.

The study, recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), involved a review of 47 studies. Researchers assessed data from 42,473 doctors and concluded the risk of “unsafe care, unprofessional behaviors and low patient satisfaction” doubled when the physician was suffering burnout.

Researchers also note younger professionals are at an increased risk of this tie between burnout and low professionalism compared to their middle and late career peers. This group of “younger professionals” included those in their early years starting out with a practice as well as residents yet to complete their training.

Ultimately, researchers with the study call for increased efforts to improve physicians’ mental wellness. The study also calls for particular focus on young professionals. The researchers note that upon completion of their training, residents will provide medical care to patients for two decades into the future. As such, it is important to give these professionals the tools they need to maintain their mental health and thus better ensure they provide quality medical care to their patients.

Accused of a medical error — now what? Whether fairly new to the profession or well established, medical professionals that find themselves accused of a medical error can face serious repercussions. The accusation could lead to a professional investigation that could impact your medical license and a lawsuit for medical negligence. As such, it is wise to take the accusations seriously and seek the legal counsel of a lawyer familiar with representing physicians and physician groups.