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The operating room is full of distractions

The last thing you wan, during surgery is for your surgeon to get distracted. As with driving, distraction leads to avoidable errors and accidents. You need that surgeon to be completely focused on the task at hand, whether it's minor surgery or something major, like the removal of a brain tumor.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of potential distractions in the operating room. A few of them include:

  • New technology - More and more, doctors and their teams use mobile devices, e.g., smartphones, in a work capacity. These can be very helpful, but they can also be distracting.
  • Shift changes - A hospital never closes — shifts just change. In some cases, this change in personnel can be distracting.
  • Necessary communication - Surgeons must talk with their teams during the procedure. Communication is incredibly important. The downside is that it can be distracting. Teams need to know how to work together effectively.
  • Alarms and surgical devices - Any unexpected noise, even if it is necessary and unavoidable, can take a doctor's mind off of the job at hand, even if just for a moment.
  • Other electronic devices - Some researchers point to distractions from computers, beepers, hospital-related calls and personal electronic devices.

The American College of Surgeons recommends that surgeons and other medical professionals avoid these distractions whenever possible. They need to be mindful of anything that keeps the procedure from going perfectly and attempt to create a distraction-free space to operate.

Of course, that does not always happen. Distraction in the operating room can cause serious harm, and it is important for those who get hurt to know what legal options they have.

Source: American College of Surgeons, "Statement on Distractions in the Operating Room," accessed May 25, 2018

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