Doctors are used to dealing with distractions of all kinds, from nurses with questions to phone calls from the pharmacy. Recent studies show, however, that there’sanother emerging distraction in operating rooms: smartphones and tablets.
This issue has led to numerous medical errors and lawsuits, as distracted doctors text and surf the web while performing patient procedures.
From Good to Bad
Doctors’ access to smart phones and other gadgets may be beneficial, as these devices help them in their work. They can refer to smart phones to easily access the Internet for medical information, or to access patient data. These devices, however, also serve as distractions that could possibly harm patients.
From Competent Doctors to Distracted Doctors
There’s little research into the injuries caused by the phenomenon called “distracted doctoring”, but accounts indicate that distraction can have dangerous consequences.
Many medical malpractice attorneys have seen incidents wherein a competent doctor misses a change in a patient’s condition. In a report by the New York Times, a patient in Colorado was left partly paralyzed when the attending neurosurgeon made at least ten personal calls on his phone during the operation. In a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, on the other hand, researchers found out that physicians are distracted about five times in an hour due to phone calls, emails, and face-to-face interactions.
And it’s not just distracted doctors. In a survey by Perfusion, a heart surgery journal, about 50% of heart-monitor technicians admitted that they’ve texted during a surgery. About 55% of technicians, on the other hand, say they’ve made phone calls while in surgery.
Distracted Doctors Could Be Sued
Distracted doctors could be charged for their medical mistakes due to distracted doctoring. If you or a loved one has been injured, for instance, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. This usually requires expert testimony to prove that the doctor truly failed to provide proper care for the patients.
Hospitals may face lawsuits, too, under the legal theory of “respondeat superior”. This holds an employer responsible for an employee’s carelessness.
At Tyrone Law Firm, we assist and represent individuals who have been injured, or families of people who have been killed because of medical negligence in Georgia. If you think you’re a victim of distracted doctoring, call us today and let Attorney Nelson O. Tyrone help you.