For at least a decade, hospitals and doctors’ offices, hoping improve medical care, have been equipping their offices, operating rooms and staff with nifty computers, ipads, smartphones and other electronic devices. This is great for quickly digging up patient data and drug information. But it also has a dark side.
Doctors and nurses and technicians, just like the rest of us, can get addicted to the “fun” side of these new technologies – social media, texting, tweeting, etc. So addicted, in fact, that they text, tweet, talk and web-surf during important medical procedures.
Apparently, America’s gadget addiction has even penetrated the operating room. For example, more than half of technicians who monitor bypass machines admit they had texted during surgery. Other examples abound. A nurse in an Oregon hospital was caught checking airfares on a computer in the operating room.
In Texas, an anesthesiologist sued for malpractice admitted, at a deposition, that he had been texting, accessing websites, and reading e-books during the surgery. He was so wrapped up in his screen that he did not notice the patient’s dangerously low blood-oxygen levels until 15 or 20 minutes after she turned blue.
Not to be outdone, a neurosurgeon in Colorado made at least 10 personal phone calls, using a wireless headphone, while operating. His patient ended up partially paralyzed and sued. Needless to say, the doctor settled his malpractice case out of court.
Medical professionals are not just endangering our lives with their screen addictions. They are also compromising our privacy. Recently, an anesthesiologist posted this about a patient on Facebook:. “After enduring the shittiest Friday I’ve had in a while, I just found out my next patient has lice. Freakin lice”. That was bad enough, but he also published a photo of another patient’s vital signs during surgery, captioned, “Just sitting here watching the tube on Christmas morning. Ho ho ho.”
Ho ho ho indeed.
Welcome to the brave new world of medical treatment in the age of the internet. Tweeting while treating. Emailing while examining. Posting while prescribing. It’s all the same thing: distracting doctoring.
My response to all this? I’m now going to tweet, post, and publish on facebook the following message:
“BEWARE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS: IF YOUR DISTRACTED DOCTORING CAUSES HARM TO YOUR PATIENTS, YOUR PATIENTS WILL SOON BECOME MY CLIENTS. THANKS FOR THE BUSINESS!”
SIGNED, YOUR FRIENDLY CENTRAL NEW YORK MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Medical Malpractice Lawyers Michaels & Smolak, P.C.