What’s the main cause of medical errors?
And how often do doctors make those mistakes?
Do doctors actually hide their mistakes?
These are not easy nuts to crack.
Let’s touch on medical errors —
Some say most medical errors are caused by communication problems. Others say workflow issues, or incorrect patient records or technical failures.
But these are leaf and branch issues — we need to dig to the root of the problem.
In this article, we’ll look into:
► How burnout may increase medical errors by 200%
► The main reasons for doctor burnout
► How often doctors make mistakes
► Whether or not doctors hide or gloss over medical mistakes
This subtle killer has officially claimed the bronze medal for taking the most lives in the US.
Ranking behind only heart disease and cancer itself, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of deaths in the US.
That’s the million dollar question. One of the most likely culprits is (perhaps not too surprisingly) burnout.
Doctors Are Burning Out More Than Ever
Let’s cover 3 things really quick. First, money. Money holds a lot of sway over the mind, and doctors are far from immune. Most doctors are plagued with medical school debt up to their ears, typically around $200,000 worth, but some pushing North of half a million.
This debt takes most doctors 10 to 30 years to pay off. That’s stressful.
Next up, hours worked. The average doctor works roughly 60 hours, or 1 1/2 times more than the average American. Also stressful.
Last up is suicide. Or more accurately, the work environment that leads to it. The sad truth is, doctors are twice as likely to commit suicide than everyone else in the US. On average, 1 doctor commits suicide every day in the US.
The sum of these problems, in a word — burnout.
According to a recent study on burnout and malpractice, doctors who report signs of burning out are twice as likely to make medical errors.
And that’s just the start.
Here’s a few stats to get you thinking:
► An increasing number of doctors say they’re clinically depressed, or show clear symptoms of depression.
► 9 out of 10 doctors discourage others from joining the profession.
► Worst of all, nearly half of doctors report that they’re burned out (42%).*
That places patients in a tipsy boat threatening to capsize into an ocean of physical, emotional and financial turmoil.
That is, the risk of becoming a victim of medical negligence is high. And unless patients are aware and able to do something about it, they’ll suffer quietly with no justice, physically, emotionally, and financially.
Medical Errors: How Often Do Doctors Make Mistakes?
How many mistakes do doctors make each year? How often do doctors make mistakes?
While this is impossible to know completely, the numbers we do have point to a severe problem:
► More than 1 out of 10 patients are harmed over the course of their medical care. *
► Medical errors result in 250,000 deaths each year. *
► More than 7 out of 10 doctors say they’d admit little or nothing if they made a medical error, and most say they wouldn’t even apologize. *
That means we’ll never know precisely how often doctors make mistakes, because many if not most of them will hide it if they can.
Or best case, “admit little.”
Don’t Blindly Trust Doctors Who May Be Hiding Medical Errors
Now, our medical system is flawed, but hey, what system isn’t? The main takeaway here isn’t that humans create flawed systems. We all get that, much more than we’d like to. No, the point is that you, the patient (or parent or child or other relative of the patient), need to be aware of this.
Many doctors hide mistakes. And too many patients trust them blindly.
For all of the people who stand up for themselves when they feel mistreated, there’s countless others who don’t. And a big reason why they don’t is because medical professionals are seen, by many if not most, as the authority on the subject.
Many people never even realize they’ve become victims of malpractice because they trust authority to a fault.
They believe in a broken system brimming with stressed, over-worked, depressed and likely medicated individuals who make mistakes and oftentimes, refuse to admit it.
And the consequence? These patients suffer with no justice or recompense. Or worse still, their powerless, innocent child does.
Don’t let that be you.
Be Aware Of Medical Errors To Protect Yourself & Your Family
So. Our medical system is flawed. Our doctors are human. When you take into consideration the mountains of debt on their shoulders, the sheer volume of hours they work, and the piddly wages (compared to the debt) they earn, it’s easy to feel for them.
As Americans, we can easily sympathize with work hours that would make many countries dry heave at the thought, wages lower than we think we deserve and larger than life personal debts.
But we can, perhaps even more so, empathize with the need for justice. We all make mistakes and we all must take responsibility for those mistakes. And the bigger the error, the bigger we pay.
Doctors, like the rest of us, should be held accountable. If they make a medical error, they should receive a fair punishment that fits the crime. And on the other side of that coin, the patient should be fairly compensated.
If you’ve been mistreated by the medical system — even if it is by a doctor or medical professional who probably otherwise means well — You. Are. Owed. Plain and simple.
Take action and receive proper compensation.
It may not be a fair trade, but it’s something. Justice, or near it.