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Distracted doctoring: Phones in the operating room

Distracted driving gets a lot of focus when talking about the downsides of smartphones, but the truth is that these devices, which are often addictive, can distract us in many other settings than just the car. Even doctors aren’t immune. Patients can come to harm if a doctor is distracted by their cellular phone during treatment.

Divided attention

The issue, in many cases, is that doctors need to have their full attention on what they are doing. These tasks are often exceedingly complicated, and people’s lives hang in the balance. Experts note that this is especially an issue in the operating room

After all, performing surgery is vastly more complicated than driving a car. If someone who looks at their device increases the odds of a car accident, how much worse is it if your surgeon looks at their phone while working on you?

Plus, it’s not just surgeons who are the issue. They have a full support team. If any of these people make a mistake, it could be costly. Say that your anesthesiologist doesn’t give you enough medication to keep you under, for example, but then looks at their phone instead of the monitors and doesn’t notice the error. Could that cause you to wake up during surgery? Will you experience vastly more pain and suffering than the surgery necessitated? Or, could the reverse happen: You end up with too much anesthesia because the doctor was distracted. That could be disastrous, even fatal.

Seeking compensation

It’s clear that smartphones lead to distraction and that distractions lead to errors. If you suffer medical harm as a result, be sure you know how to seek compensation from those responsible