Even if you don’t work in the medical industry, you probably know how stressful being a doctor or nurse can be. Every day, physicians and other medical professionals work under tremendous pressure, especially in hospitals. They are responsible for the lives and well-being of several severely injured or sick patients.
These days, the problem is even worse in many parts of the U.S., where intensive care units are filled with patients suffering from COVID-19. Nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals are stretched thin and stressed out. As a result, more and more medical professionals are experiencing burnout or the increasing inability to handle their jobs emotionally.
When a patient gets a doctor with burnout
Unfortunately for patients, if you are assigned a burned-out doctor when you go to the hospital, you are more likely to become the victim of medical malpractice. The World Health Organization says that burnout in the medical community causes more than exhaustion. It can also lead to reduced effectiveness and a more cynical attitude toward one’s patients. Not qualities you deserve to have in your doctor.
Deadly medication mixup blamed on burnout
While the pandemic has made burnout among doctors worse, it has been a problem in the American medical system for a long time. Burnout can cause doctors to make critical mistakes. In one example reported by NPR, a woman’s father was in the hospital for cancer treatment. His doctors took him off of his anti-stroke medication, wrongly assuming that he was unable to swallow it. They based this decision on the father’s chart without ever actually examining him or asking his daughter, who would have told them that he could still swallow. The man later suffered a stroke and died. The woman, who, ironically, studies physician burnout, believes the doctors who treated her father were burned out and unable to provide decent care.
You deserve a medical staff that is prepared to give you high-quality care. If you received substandard treatment at the hospital because of burnout, it was your life at risk. You may be left with worse, not better, health as a result. This is unacceptable.