Published: 09th May 2020
Who will heal the burnt out doctors after the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
The subject is likely to take new dimensions in the months and years to come and the subject is open to many views — even excluding, but not necessarily, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic
It has long been rumoured that busy doctors, after counting their day’s earnings, end up in high-end bars or in the consulting rooms of psychiatrists to drown the day’s exhaustion or confess the day’s frustrations.
It is not about the current Coronavirus pandemic and the no-choice deployment to work in the highly contagious environment.
Buthere we go back to a national survey from the USA which was published online on July 9, 2018, in Mayo Clinic Proceedings and excerpted here:
More than half of American doctors are burnt out and those doctors are more likely to make medical mistakes. The poll asked nearly 6,700 clinic and hospital physicians about medical errors, workplace safety, and symptoms of workplace burnout, fatigue, depression and suicidal thoughts. More than 10 per cent said they had committed at least one significant medical mistake in the three months leading up to the survey and investigators concluded that those suffering from burnout were twice as likely to make a medical error.
This is understandably a lot higher during such stressful times, where doctors and allied medical workers are being asked to work extra shifts and more hours per week — as opposed to the rest of the world that is being asked to work less and not come to work, go outside or do anything that one would consider normal by any standard.
“Burnout is a reversible work-related syndrome characterised by emotional exhaustion and/or cynicism, often featuring decreased effectiveness,” explained lead study author Dr Daniel Tawfik, an instructor in Paediatric Critical Care at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.” Although not unique to physicians, it is particularly common in occupations like medicine that feature high levels of stress and intense interactions with people,” he said.
Which is not to say that regular people do not experience burnout from time to time. It is merely that when the doctor himself is the victim, where then does he/she go for help? Or for a diagnosis even at a time like this when everything is an emergency, “When a physician is experiencing burnout, a wide range of adverse events may occur,” Tawfik noted. “In our study, the most common errors were errors in medical judgment, errors in diagnosing illness and technical mistakes during procedures.”
The subject is likely to take new dimensions in the months and years to come and the subject is open to many views — even excluding, but not necessarily, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.