COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the American republic. Medical professionals across the country have made heroic efforts to treat those who have contracted the virus and taken ill. Delivering critical care day-after-day has taken its toll on residents and other physicians who have been fighting on the front lines for the past nine months. This has led to an increase in severe mental stress and the harmful effects that result from it.
Key findings from recent research indicate that a majority of medical professionals are afraid of being exposed to Coronavirus and have experienced anxiety or depression owing to it. Because of the novelty of the virus and the situation created by it, more studies will have to be conducted in this area. But one thing is for certain: dealing with COVID-19 has led to the mental injury of numerous physicians.
Stress Impacts Safety
Few people think of medicine as an inherently hazardous profession. In normal times, patients and caseloads are managed with calm and deliberation. The public health crisis sparked by the pandemic has overwhelmed even the most well-equipped and well-resourced hospitals. It has made it more important than ever for senior physicians and hospital administrators to address the effect of stress on workplace safety.
Stress can cause distraction. A stressed worker—even a highly educated and skilled physician—is more likely to think about the source of their stress than the task at hand. This can lead to poor attention to detail, which can, in turn, lead to accidents and injury. And it is important to understand that the latter is not limited to medical malpractice on patients. There are a great many machines, needles, cutting tools, chemical agents, and other items in a hospital that can hurt the person who does not use them properly.
How the Virus Has Changed Hospitals
The Coronavirus has forced many hospitals to operate like any other worksite. They have had to look at the design of tasks and the impact of infrequent breaks and long hours for medical staff. The sheer number of cases that hospitals must deal with have made contingency plans for sporadic major disasters irrelevant. Senior physicians and hospital administrators have had to apply management approaches and organizational structures that are closer to manufacturing plants and other production facilities. Hospitals have had to pay more attention to warning signs of stress on the job, including:
• Low morale
• Changes in appetite
• Difficulty with focus and concentration
Prolonged stress can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, an impaired immune system, and psychological disorders. It can also lead to a rise in absenteeism and problems with employee retention—the last things that are needed in hospitals as the country continues to struggle with the pandemic.
Your Duty and Your Life
You became a physician to help people. You wanted to put your talents to use in the service of others. But you are still human, and you have limitations. In the end, you must balance your obligations as a physician with those of your life as a spouse, parent, sibling, and friend.
If you have suffered the effects of stress since the COVID-19 crisis, then you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney in the New York area. You may be entitled to the benefits of workers’ compensation. If you are refused such benefits, then workers compensation attorneys in the Greater New York area will help you get them.
High stress and its effects are among the many New York area medical injuries suffered by medical residents and physicians. Medical injury attorneys in NY are seeing more and more of these cases as the pandemic deepens. NY workers compensation attorneys know how to handle cases like yours. You should speak to the NY workers compensation lawyers at Rella & Associates if you need advice on how to proceed.