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OMG. Eddie Farah Thinks that Distracted Doctoring Needs to End

Posted on March 27, 2012

While there is no doubt that technological innovations like cell phones and iPads are revolutionizing the medical industry, Tallahassee medical malpractice attorney Eddie Farah notes that exploding new communication technologies also have a downside — namely, distracted doctoring.

He points to a recent story aired by National Public Radio (NPR) in which the chief information officer at Beth Israel Hospital, Dr. John Halamka, told a reporter that the new tools can be a mixed blessing. While allowing doctors access to a patient’s medical record in an instant, a cell phone or tablet also provides the temptation to reply to an instant message from a friend that has nothing to do with the case at hand.

Halamka wrote a case study about an instance at Beth Israel where doctors had decided to discontinue a blood thinning medication a patient was on. However, as one of the residents was entering the new order into her smartphone, she received a text about a party. She was so busy RSVP-ing that she never completed the order. The patient nearly died as a result.

“If you forgot to pick up something at the grocery store, it’s an inconvenience. If you forgot to stop a blood thinner, it can result in significant harm,” Hamalka told NPR.

A 2010 survey of 439 medical technicians found that almost half had sent texts while performing a cardiopulmonary bypass. One medical director of a surgical intensive care unit told the New York Times that he had witnessed colleagues using computers in the operating room during surgery to shop on Amazon and Ebay.

Do you really want your physician texting and shopping during your surgery? Eddie Farah thinks that patients deserve undivided attention from any doctor, nurse or surgeon, especially when long-term injury, or death, can result from even the slightest distraction. If you’ve been harmed due to “distracted doctoring”, please call our medical malpractice legal team at (800) 533-3555 for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case.