You rely on your healthcare providers to take care of you when you’re not well, but the fast-paced, high-pressure world of medicine can often leave doctors and nurses feeling unwell themselves. When they’re not at their best, it’s possible that you won’t get the help you need.

Up to around half of doctors and nurses in the U.S. experience symptoms of burnout. This translates to risks that pass on to patients, and the consequences can be life-threatening. You’re putting your trust in healthcare providers to act in your best interest, but excessive burnout could render them incapable.

Dangerous diagnosis

Burnout leads to emotional exhaustion, loss of enthusiasm and detachment from patients. If these don’t drag your doctor down, then maybe the connection with higher rates of depression and substance abuse will. All these factors can make it more difficult for your caretaker to make the right calls when it comes to care.

Judging symptoms

Burnout and malpractice claims can go hand-in-hand, and those showing signs are over twice as likely to testify to committing medical errors:

  • Errors in judgment
  • Incorrect or missed diagnoses
  • Technical and skill-based mistakes

And the stakes aren’t small. You’re not only at risk of not getting better, but things can often take a turn for the worse. Medical mistakes rank third in causes of death in the U.S. There also isn’t a sector of care that is immune to the effects, with studies showing ties across disciplines.

Understanding the broad scope of burnout can help you identify when it affects you. If your doctor wasn’t able to provide adequate care, then you may have a medical malpractice case on your hands.