The dangers of distracted doctoring are similar to the dangers of distracted driving. Patients can be harmed or even suffer a wrongful death due to negligent behavior of medical personnel. The problem comes hand in hand with technological advances in medicine. New monitoring devices, sometimes referred to as the iPatient, include computer monitoring devices that track patient data. Medical personnel can become engrossed in watching the data screen and, as a result of watching the iPatient, they may miss important physical cues in the real patient.
The sad facts are that even though the problem of distracted doctoring is known and discussed at the medical school level, medical personnel continue to forget about the patient when using many devices associated with a patient. The urge to communicate instantly is so strong, it is easy to just walk around any hospital and see doctors, nurses and attendants busily texting, talking on cell phones or using personal computers and iPads during work shifts.
As if that is not bad enough, studies show that personal communication devices like cell phones, iPads and smartphones have been used by nurses, doctors and attendants during critical medical procedures like surgery. A slight delay through distracted doctoring can cause untold damage to a patient in a millisecond. This may amount to negligence on the job and, if it causes harm to the patient, there may be cause for legal recourse.
The dangers of distracted doctoring can be so severe as to result in death of the patient; there is no excuse for a doctor or nurse using communication devices to browse Facebook, shop or order airfare tickets during a medical procedure.
Source: New York Times, "As Doctors Use More Devices, Potential for Distraction Grows," Matt Richtel
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