Technology Can Cause Distractions And Surgical Errors In Virginia

You may have heard stories about office workers surfing the net or playing solitaire during slow days at work. Every day has a little down time, so this may seem like a harmless practice.

But what if the person checking their email is in the middle of operating on a patient?

Hospitals across the nation have encouraged the use of new technology to cut down on medical errors. Many encourage the use of smartphones, tablets and other devices by providing mobile access to patient data and prescription details. However, not all of these devices are used strictly for work purposes.

A recent peer-reviewed survey in the cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery journal Perfusionfound electronic distraction to be a worrying trend, especially among younger staff. 

Of the 439 medical technicians surveyed: 

  • 55 percent of technicians who monitor bypass machines told researchers that they had answered or initiated cell phone calls during heart surgery. 
  • Half of technicians running bypass machines admitted to researchers that they had texted while in surgery. 
  • Despite being guilty of distraction, 40 percent said that talking on the phone during surgery is “always an unsafe practice.” Half of respondents said the same about texting.

While doctors have long been interrupted from patient care by beepers and phones, the study suggests that the new generation has been acclimated to interact constantly with their devices. Inability to put down a tablet or ignore a call takes the focus off the patient in the room, risking patient care and possible medical malpractice in Virginia.

If your doctor was distracted during surgery, you may be eligible for compensation. The board-certified Virginia injury attorneys at Shevlin Smith can give you the answers you need to win your Fairfax medical malpractice case in your FREE consultation. Call (703) 721-4233 today or fill out the contact form on this page.

To learn what to expect in your malpractice case, click the link above to receive a FREE copy of our book, Do I Have A Case? A Patient's Guide to Virginia Medical Negligence Law.


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