We have all heard the term, “burnout.” It means exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. It applies to teachers, pilots, coaches, lawyers and doctors.
When it comes to surgeons, burnout is a clear cause of surgical errors and mistakes. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.
A recent study acknowledges what we already know: As a group, surgeons work as hard as any other profession. What’s worse, the hours are often worked under very stressful situations. It’s natural for any human being to be tired from working grueling hours in stressful situations.
Therefore, it’s important for anyone working in those conditions to get the proper rest so they can perform at the highest level they possibly can.
We know burnout and surgical errors are linked, so what’s new?
Since 1885, the Annals of Surgery journal has been doing monthly reviews of medical issues like burnout and surgical errors. The objective of a surgery on burnout and surgical errors conducted by the Annals of Surgery was simple: figure out how burnout and surgical errors are linked.
Sounds pretty simple, right? There were 7,905 participating surgeons in the study to make sure there was a big enough sample size.
Here are the results on burnout and surgical errors: Nearly 9 percent of the survey’s participants said they had made a serious medical mistake during the previous three months. That’s 700 surgeons, and that’s scary.
More than 70 percent of surgeons attributed their mistake to something they personally did wrong or failed to do correctly. In other words, these surgeons took the blame for their own mistakes.
What did we learn about burnout and surgical errors?
If a surgeon is “burned out,” how more likely is it that he or she will make an error? Since the problem is known to exist, the next step is to find a solution.
What is the best way to reduce surgeon distress? Unfortunately, if a patient needs care, cutting back hours may not be the answer, but all options should be considered.
With that said, we’d like to hear from you. How do you think “burnout” should be reduced?
Do you have questions or answers about burnout and surgical errors?
Add a comment to our blog. New Jersey lawyers can answer your questions about surgical errors and complications.
At the Mininno Law Office, we have experienced NJ trial attorneys who have dealt with these cases all too often. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have or offer any help you need. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.