Cellphones in the operating room: A risk for patients

Being a surgical patient is tough. Once you’re on that gurney and under anesthesia, you’re literally putting your life in someone else’s hands.

How would you feel, then, if you found out that your doctor took time away from surgery to do a little dance and film some peppy content for their YouTube channel — or maybe took a Zoom call from a judge to try to deal with a traffic ticket?

Unfortunately, those aren’t just theoretical examples: They’ve actually happened to patients in recent years.

Cellphones are everywhere, it seems

Both the incidents described above could easily be described as deplorable and frightening. Medical professionals are supposed to give their patients their full attention — and there’s no question that cellphone use is distracting.

If drivers are barred from using them behind the wheel, they definitely should be banned from the operating theater. Cellphone use is actually the “trifecta” of distractions because users are required to divert:

  • Visual attention away from what they are doing to view the phone’s screen
  • Manual attention away from their tasks to operate and hold the phone
  • Cognitive attention away from what they should be doing to think about what’s happening on the other end of their cell phone

On all levels, cellphones in an operating room pose a hazard for patients — but even many medical professionals seem to be unable to put their devices down.

When you’ve been injured by a surgeon’s negligence

It only takes one moment of distraction and one slip of the scalpel to change someone’s life forever. If you’ve been injured by a surgical mistake or your loved one has suffered irreparable harm, you have every right to pursue some measure of justice against the negligent surgeon.





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