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Burnout, surgeon errors and medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

As a medical patient, it doesn’t matter what your surgeon’s specialty happens to be. You can expect quality care in adherence to state laws and accepted safety standards of the industry. There appears to be a link between surgeon burnout and medical malpractice.

If you’re scheduled to undergo ear, nose or throat surgery, you’ll want to note that Otolaryngology surgeons and general surgeons reportedly have the highest rate of burnout in the surgical industry. The Maslach Burnout Inventory is comprised of more than 35 years of research regarding three main categories of burnout, including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and professional accomplishments. When a surgeon experiences burnout, it affects their personal life as well as career, which can spark bad habits and, in many cases, medical errors.

Surgeon burnout often precedes medical malpractice events

You have no way of knowing what’s going on in the life of a surgeon who is going to perform a procedure on you. If they are emotionally or mentally exhausted or distressed, feel dissatisfied in their career or are navigating a family crisis, it can affect performance in the operating room. A surgeon who feels burned out is more likely to make surgical errors than one who is well-rested and well-adjusted on the job.

Your surgeon might experience burnout if these issues exist:

The following list shows numerous issues that medical analyses have determined often contribute to surgeon burnout:

  • Conflict with colleagues
  • Dissatisfaction with income
  • Occupational stress
  • Medical malpractice accusations
  • Workplace violence or hostility
  • Failure to advance or achieve career goals
  • Long hours on the job without rest

If you’re undergoing surgery with a surgeon who is experiencing one or more of these issues, you may be at greater risk for medical injuries. A surgeon who goes through burnout may experience distractions or fatigue and be more inclined to make a potentially dangerous error.

You are not responsible for quality care as a medical patient

Surgeon burnout is not your responsibility to resolve as a Delaware medical patient. If you suffer injury because your surgeon was mentally, physically or emotionally distressed or exhausted, and the injury was otherwise preventable, several entities may be liable for damages. Reviewing state laws regarding medical malpractice is a logical step to take if you believe you have grounds for filing a claim.