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STUDY: Over half of doctors report instances of burnout, leading to more medical errors

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A recent survey shows 54 percent of physicians are burned out at work.

The Stanford University study surveyed 6,695 doctors, showing symptoms of burnout from extreme fatigue to suicidal thoughts.

Gundersen Health System Executive Vice President Michael Dolan said the long hours is a contributing factor.

“Physicians, in general, work anywhere from 10-15 hours more per week than the average American worker,” Dolan said. “It can add up. A lot of the nighttime stuff, we’ve gone to more shift work, where people don’t have to work prolonged, 24-hour shifts.”

According to the study, which was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal, said about one of 10 doctors said that, in the past three months, they were responsible for a misdiagnosis, technical mistake, poor prescription decision or another medical error.

The amount of time facing a computer versus a patient is getting to be too much, as well.

“Physicians spend as much time in front of a computer doing documentation as they do face to face, talking to a patient during their work week,” Dolan said. “We were trained to actually talk to patients, examine patients, trying to help them.”

Other aspects of burnout include emotional exhaustion and not being engaged with patients.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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