So, what are the ethical considerations of burnout in resident physicians? The negative aspects of burnout can adversely affect patient care, effective learning, personal health, and interpersonal relationships. Burnout in a resident, if not addressed and mitigated, can persist into practice, becoming a problem for both patient and physician. The burned-out otolaryngologist is unhappy and depressed, and spreads those feelings to those around him/her, especially to the patient. It is our ethical responsibility to address this issue and discharge our duty to patient, physician, profession, and society.
Dr. Holt is professor emeritus in the department of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.