Is texting and email checking in OT allowed? |
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Is texting and email checking in OT allowed?

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In an operating room, long cases usually allow anesthesiologists, nurses, etc., to access their phones. Checking email or sending texts could be detrimental to patients, as the staff need to focus on patient monitoring. Checking the phones is a growing problem in operating rooms.

In a peer-reviewed survey of 439 medical staff, published in Perfusion, half of the technicians, who run bypass machines, reported that they texted during surgery [2011 Sep;26(5):375-80].

Around 55.6% of staff who monitor heart bypass machines accepted to having used cell phones during heart bypass surgery.

Nearly 49.2% agreed that they had texted while in surgery.

About 21% of the perfusionists reported that in the midst of cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery, they accessed their e-mail, 15.1% agreed that they used the internet and 3.1% reported that they checked or posted on social networking sites.

Personal distraction by phone use that had a negative impact on performance was reported by 7.3%, while 33.7% agreed that they noted that another perfusionist was distracted with phone while in surgery.

Texting and checking email while working in the OT can be hazardous. It has led to medical errors and lawsuits.

Medical professionals are expected to multitask but distracted doctors can commit dangerous errors. Distracted doctors could be sued for mistakes committed due to lack of attention.

Such cases need expert testimony to prove that the surgeon failed to properly care for the patient.

Hospitals employing distracted doctors could also face lawsuits under the legal theory of "respondent superior," which holds an employer liable for employee’s negligence. 
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