“Four hundred U.S. physicians take their own lives every year,” said Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, president and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards.
“If doctors are stressed, how in the world can quality health care be delivered to patients?” Chaudhry said last week in a speech to the Federation of State Medical Boards, which represents the medical and osteopathic regulatory boards that license and discipline physicians in every state.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the consequences for patients when they are seen by a doctor experiencing burnout can range from medical errors and high mortality rates of hospitalized patients, to lower medical knowledge.
Research presented at last week’s meeting found that students entering medical school tend to have better mental health than other college graduates.
“It doesn’t take long for this to change,” said Dr. Lotte Dyrbye, who studies physician well-being at the Mayo Clinic. Soon after entering medical school, the students tend to have more issues with burnout and depression than their peers.
It is estimated that over 50 percent of physicians are currently experiencing some form of burnout.