Texting While Doctoring

Texting While Doctoring

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you are texting while driving that you can get distracted.   Looking down while driving is going to be worse than looking up every single time.

What you probably haven’t heard of as much is doctors who are texting while working.  In a recent New York Times Article, the reporter did a survey and found that 55% of those who monitored bypass machines during a surgery said that they used their phone during surgery and 50% said that they were texting.  And it probably is going to get worse over time as newer residents come aboard who are used to having their cell phone with them all of the time.  Of the 55%, half made phone calls, half checked e-mails and 15% surfed the web.

I have no idea how much medical negligence has occurred because it’s not like a car accident where it gets investigated right away.  The Times article did mention a case in Denver where a neurosurgeon made at least 10 personal phone calls during an operation in which the patient was severely injured.

You’d think that most hospitals would put a policy in to place that prevents medical staff from using their phones during any procedure.  Even if it doesn’t cause an error, the perception of a juror would likely be that using these devices during an operation would contribute to a mistake happening.

I’ve never gone under for surgery and hopefully never will, but if I did, I wouldn’t want my doctor playing Temple Run or calling his kids or texting his mistress during my surgery.  And I’m sure you don’t want that either. 

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  • First, let's get the facts straight. A perfusionist, not a physician, monitors the bypass machine. Second, doctors texting while at work is not a problem worthy of news. People should worry more about not smoking and losing weight. These are real problems worthy of news.

  • Well, there is the case highlighted in the story where the doctor got sued. And sure smoking and heavy weight is worse, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't want my doc on the phone when he should be focusing on me or at least faking that he is.

  • I should say the same of attorneys. I have had to sit through interruptions at the offices or meetings at and with a number of lawyers I have retained. Those interruptions have been in person, on phone and by email and text dings. I didn't find any subtractions for the interruptions.


  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Of course the obvious difference is that you are awake presumably when these lawyers disrespected you and can say something about it. Plus, I'm pretty sure that if they are checking e-mail while talking to you it won't increase your chances of dying.

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