Picture this: You are in the operating theater, with the surgeon hovering over you with their blade. They and the nurses around them are a picture of concentration. They are just about to make the vital incision when someone’s phone goes off. Would you feel so confident now?
Unfortunately, that and similar scenarios are a common occurrence in hospitals around the country and it is a big problem. You are probably aware of how distraction can cause drivers to make mistakes that lead to people getting killed or injured. So you can imagine how the same can happen if doctors and nurses get distracted in the course of their job.
Technology can play a big role in helping medical staff do their job
Doctors can check medical advice on their phones for example. It just needs to be used correctly and with caution. Otherwise, patients will get hurt.
Sensible steps to prevent problems include:
Having mandatory zones where all phones must be silenced, for example, close to operating theaters.
Teaching staff about the dangers of distraction and how it can affect their work, not just in the moment, but for minutes afterward.
Creating and using backup systems so that if a doctor is about to make a mistake because they are distracted, someone else can catch it before they make it. For instance, speaking out loud what they are about to do or marking which limb needs surgery on the person’s body.
If a doctor injures you due to distraction, you’ll want to find out more about your legal options, as it could qualify as medical malpractice.