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Health care practitioners often encourage their patients to meditate, do yoga and relax to prevent emotional issues from becoming serious problems. The rate at which physicians themselves suffer from depression, however, does not receive the attention it deserves.

When a doctor experiences burnout, depression or stress, he or she may provide treatment with reduced quality of care. As reported by the American Medical Association, 42% of physicians surveyed revealed that they were feeling burned out. With 48% of physicians reportedly also working between 51 and 60 hours per week, overexertion may contribute to the stress. Patients in their care may then suffer harm.

Coping poorly with burnout

Like many individuals, doctors sometimes cope with their own stress through alcohol, junk food or other self-destructive habits. Patients, however, may find themselves negatively affected by a physician providing treatment while he or she is experiencing an episode of burnout or suffering from stress overload.

Medical professionals owe patients a duty of care to provide treatment with skill and without errors, mishaps or mistakes. Federal regulations and rules enacted by the Mississippi legislature hold physicians to the highest standards of care. If a health care professional breaches this duty, he or she may face a legal action for any injuries to a patient resulting from negligence or substandard care.

Filing a legal action for care-related negligence

A survey conducted by Medscape revealed that 85% of general surgeons have had legal actions filed against them. As reported by Becker’s Hospital Review, at least half of 4,360 doctors surveyed faced a care-related lawsuit. Patients who have suffered serious injuries or disabilities from a medical mishap, misdiagnosis or improperly administered care may seek relief by filing a claim for damages.