Distracted Doctoring?


Computers, hand-held devices, iPads and iPhones provide health care providers with instant access to medical records, drug interactions for medications they are prescribing to patients, and much more important information required to care for patients. Electronic records on devices have most certainly saved countless lives as well.

Yet with the increased focus on technology, less attentions is being given to the patients who are the supposed beneficiaries of this advancement in technology. More and more patients find themselves interacting with a physician who is not looking at them, but instead looking at their computer screen. Is this a problem that needs to be addressed?

When your neurosurgeon is making personal calls during surgery, or a nurse is checking airfares during surgery this most certainly presents a grave harm to a patient who is receiving critical care at the hands of a distracted doctor.

A peer-reviewed survey of 439 medical technicians published this year in a journal about cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery, found that over half of technicians who monitor bypass machines admitted to talking on cell phones during heart surgery and half also stated they had texted while in surgery. And yet half of the participants in the study stated that talking on the phone, or texting, while in surgery is an “unsafe practice.”

In response a few hospitals claim to have begun limiting the use of devices in critical settings, and medical schools are telling students to focus on patients instead of the devices they are being taught to use while treating patients.

This “response” by the medical community is lacking—more studies need to be performed in order to learn how distracted doctoring is impacting patients. Once the negative impact is demonstrated maybe hospitals and healthcare providers will be forced to balance the demands of checking their Facebook, performing surgery, taking personal calls, and reading patients’ records.

But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.