Research shows that cell phone use in operating rooms is not uncommon. In a report prepared by Kaiser Health News and the Washington Post, and published by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, medical personnel told reporters that they observed colleagues using their cell phones for things that were unrelated to the procedure taking place.
Specifically, medical personnel reported seeing physicians check their social media, and others shop online. Some were even seen hiding their phones and checking them when they did not think anyone was watching. If these actions cause physicians to become distracted, medical malpractice issues like surgical errors are more likely to occur.
Risk of Fatalities
Distractions caused by cell phone use can sometimes lead to fatalities. For example, one incident cited in the report involved an anesthesiologist who was responsible for monitoring a surgical patient during the procedure. Rather than observing the patient, the anesthesiologist allegedly spent 20 minutes on his phone sending emails and text messages. During that time, the patient’s oxygen levels plummeted and she died during the operation.
Another highly publicized case involved comedian Joan Rivers who passed away after suffering from cardiac arrest during a throat procedure. According to others in the operating room, one of the physicians who was performing the procedure used his phone to take pictures during the operation.
Need for Set Rules
Medical associations like the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons agree that there needs to be a clear set of rules that medical professionals, including physicians, surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists must following regarding cell phone use in operating rooms. This will help keep the focus on the patient’s health and safety and not on sending a text, or checking social media.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Medical Negligence
If you or a loved one has become injured during a surgical procedure, contact a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-457-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.