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How can overwork lead to medical errors?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2023 | Doctor Errors, Medical Malpractice |

Occupational burnout is a widespread problem among all industries, but it may have worse repercussions among medical professionals. These practitioners already experience stressful situations regularly. They should have received sufficient training to remain composed, decisive and vigilant under these extreme circumstances.

There are existing systems and protocols in the medical industry to help uphold an adequate standard of care despite these challenges. However, severe cases of having too many patients and not enough health care providers could increase the risks of medical mistakes and errors. They could be inevitable if health care providers are too stressed and tired to meet their profession’s demands.

Doctors, nurses and other staff often struggle with keeping mental health in check. In hospitals, the patient’s needs always come first, unintentionally making practitioners neglect their personal physical and psychological wellness. Additionally, providing medical care also comes with emotional burdens.

The urge to prioritize and connect with patients can help a practitioner better understand what their patients need. However, burnout or overwork may affect their instincts and ability to focus during crucial situations, leading to severe errors. These mistakes can have grave consequences. One prescription typo or monitoring oversight could result in severe harm or even death.

Addressing burnout-related risks in medicine

Burnout and overwork often stem from systematic problems that may require significant changes in the industry. Reform is possible, but only if lawmakers and leaders in the medical industry acknowledge the problem and implement changes at a larger scale.

These resolutions could take time, so health care providers must rely on existing practices and procedures to ensure patient safety. If they negligently make decisions causing harm to a patient, it could be medical malpractice, warranting legal action if necessary.