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There is no place for distractions in an operating room

If someone you love was injured or passed away as a result of surgery, you may question if surgical errors played a role. It may be the reality that the operation went wrong because of mistakes caused by distractions.

In fact, studies have shown that interruptions and distractions in operating rooms do lead to surgical errors. Concentration is of the utmost importance to the surgeon and others working on the patient. That’s why it’s so important for interruptions to be as minimal as possible.

What are common distractions in an operating room?

There are several distractions that might occur in an OR. These may include:

  • Music that interrupts the surgeon or others
  • Ringing phones
  • Conversations
  • People coming into or out of the operating room

While distractions are less likely while the surgery’s most delicate moments, they can still cause problems at any stage. Interruptions are most common during closure counts, which could be why items being left behind in patients is still a prominent issue today.

How should the team in an OR handle distractions and interruptions?

To a degree, it is impossible to eliminate all distractions and interruptions that could happen when a patient is in surgery. However, there are steps that surgeons and their team can take to reduce the risk of negative consequences. These steps might include better communication with vocalized counts of sponges or tools, using radio-frequency identification systems to improve counts, using standard processes and tools to reduce or assist during interruptions or going through simulated training that focuses on teamwork and a better understanding of the operating room and its functions.

What can you do if your loved one was hurt due to distractions in an operating room?

If you discover that someone you love was injured because of distractions, like a nurse taking a phone call or a surgeon leaving the room unexpectedly during an operation, you may be able to make a medical malpractice claim. When patients are in their care, nurses, surgeons and other team members have to remain focused. Not doing so could put a patient’s life in danger during their most vulnerable time.