Many physicians in Delaware and throughout the country struggle to balance their family obligations and private lives with the duties they carry out during an average workday. Talk to anyone who is married to a doctor, and you’ll learn that it is not uncommon for physicians to be away from home for long hours each day or overnight. Data shows that today’s doctors often feel overworked. The question is: Has this led to an increase in medical malpractice incidents?
If you are undergoing a medical procedure or receiving treatment for a specific health issue, you expect your doctor to be alert and to act in accordance with state laws as well as the accepted safety standards of the industry. If the doctor attending to your care has fatigue or lacks focus due to spending long hours on duty without rest, they could make a mistake that adversely affects your health.
Common factors that can lead to burnout in doctors
Studies show that numerous factors contribute to exhaustion and burnout in doctors. Some of these include:
- Heavy workloads
- Wanting control over work
- Integrating workplace duties and personal life
- Frequent turnover
- Insufficient schedule coverage
When more than one of these issues is present in a particular physician’s experience, the result is often burnout. When doctors are too tired to focus on the task at hand or do not have adequate backup support, they are at risk of making mistakes that can result in severe injuries to their patients.
Overwork is most common during the middle of a physician’s career
Studies have analyzed career satisfaction, efficiency and other issues among doctors who have only just begun their careers in the past 10 years as opposed to those who have been active in their practices for 11 to 20 years and those who have been doctors for longer than 20 years. If your doctor is in the middle group, they are most likely to feel overworked, exhausted and dissatisfied with their career.
In fact, the results of one study showed that doctors in the mid-life career group are much more likely to leave their jobs for non-retirement-related issues within the next few years. Regardless of current data, however, why should you or any other patient be at risk because a doctor feels overworked?
Physician burnout is a problem that should not exist
If you suffer a medical injury, it should never be because of a doctor’s negligence. You have a right to quality care, even if a particular form of treatment does not produce the results you or your doctor were hoping to achieve. There’s a big difference between a treatment that doesn’t work and negligence that results in injury to a patient. If you have suffered injuries in a medical environment due to a doctor’s negligence, Delaware law allows you to seek restitution by filing a medical malpractice claim.