Many New Mexico residents have suffered misdiagnoses, botched surgery and even the death of loved ones due to medical errors. In several instances, the gross negligence of medical practitioners was identified as the reason for this. However, according to a CBS News report, doctor burnout is now one of the key factors putting patients at risk.
According to the national survey cited by CBS, more than half of doctors are burned out. This makes doctors far more likely to commit medical errors that can harm or cost lives, rather than save them. In fact, more than 10 percent of respondents in the survey said they had committed at least one major medical error within the three preceding months of the survey.
In addition to burnout, a third of doctors surveyed reported that they suffered from excessive fatigue. Another troubling figure is that 6.5 percent confessed to contemplating suicide. To add to this, the respondents who confessed to committing medical mistakes were the doctors who more commonly suffered from burnout symptoms.
In 2016, CNN reported medical errors as the alleged third-leading cause of death in America, placing medical errors before diseases like bronchitis and emphysema. The doctors who contributed to the study cited by CNN estimated that every year, 251,454 people died from medical errors committed in the United States.
If nothing is done to reduce the high levels of stress and burnout faced by doctors, then that number may reasonably be expected to climb. The incidents of maiming caused by medical errors may likely rise too. Hospitals who are committed to seeing a decline in these numbers would be wise to invest in better mental health programs for not just doctors, but nurses and other members of staff.