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Health Care Provider Burnout and the Risk of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits


Burnout among health care workers is pretty common in America, with statistics showing its prevalence is relatively higher than in other developed countries.

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the rate of burnout among health practitioners is twice as high as in other professions.

Burnouts can manifest in many forms, with some of the common symptoms being feeling drained, decreased feeling of accomplishment, detachment from colleagues and family, and mood swings.

Burnout can also result in more complex conditions such as depression, which is responsible for over 400 physician suicides each year.

Medical Error Statistics

Besides the effects burnout can have on a physician’s health, it increases the chances of medical errors resulting in costly medical malpractice lawsuits.

According to statistics, medical errors result in approximately 250,000 deaths in America each year, placing medical errors in the third position in the list of leading causes of death, with heart disease and cancer taking the first and second position, respectively.

In 2018 alone, a total of $4,031,987,700 was paid to plaintiffs as compensation for medical malpractice. These lawsuits could have been avoided by observing due diligence, for example, ensuring that physicians have a healthy work-life balance, which can help minimize the chances of burnout. Even seemingly innocent medical errors can result in a costly medical malpractice lawsuit.

Common Medical Errors Resulting In Lawsuits

Misdiagnosis is the most common physician error that results in a lawsuit. While it may appear like an innocent mistake, it can result in the deterioration of a patient’s condition resulting in a lawsuit.

Delayed diagnosis is similar to misdiagnoses, but is different in that the treating physician eventually makes the correct diagnosis after having made a misdiagnosis. Under such circumstances, the plaintiff can claim the doctor’s failure to make the proper diagnoses, the first time, contributed to the deterioration of a condition, especially if they failed to perform a test that should have been conducted under the circumstances.

Surgical, Prescription, And Birth Injury Errors Are Also Prevalent

Surgical errors are also quite common and can result in significantly costly lawsuits. Some common surgical errors include leaving medical equipment in a patient’s body, operating the wrong part of the body, and organ damage, among others.

Prescription errors are another medical error that can prove costly. It involves a prescription mix-up that results in harm to the patient. Birth injury errors are common in the delivery room and include cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, fistula, and nerve injuries.

Patients Eligible For Compensation

Patients that suffer harm resulting from medical malpractice are entitled to compensation. However, a medical malpractice lawsuit can get complicated and may require the help of a personal injury lawyer. “Working with a lawyer increases the chances of a favorable outcome in medical malpractice lawsuits by up to five times,” says Attorney Arren Waldrep of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC.

According to the medical malpractice lawyer, avoiding such incidences may not cost hospital administrators much. Ensuring that doctors aren’t overworked and have access to psycho-social support can significantly reduce the chances of burnout, which is the leading cause of errors.