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The dangers of cellphones in the field of medicine

| Feb 12, 2015 | Surgical Errors |

There’s this idea that is seemingly drilled into our heads that doctors, surgeons and nurses are these noble and flawless people who will do anything to make sure the patient receives the best care. They refuse to let a patient down, and these medical professionals will go the extra mile to ensure everything goes according to plan.

But in reality, these medical professionals are susceptible to all the weaknesses inherent in people. Just like you and me, they make mistakes. They have bad habits. They get scared, they don’t always tell the truth, and they aren’t always in control.

We say all of this not to terrify you, but to normalize your view of medical professionals. They are people just like you and me. They are addicted to their cellphone just like most people out there. And when it comes to medical care, this is a huge problem.

If your surgeon is about to perform a complex surgery on you, but he or she is texting away as he or she enters the room, that can’t possibly be good. He or she may still be concentrated on the conversation, or at the very least they aren’t fully focused on the procedure they are about to perform.

Cellphones have the added risk to the medical community of being a germ-carrying object. As a result, these phones can actually negatively affect the sterile atmosphere that many medical areas require in order to protect the patient.

So to all you doctors, surgeons and medical pros out there: put down the phone, and think about your patient.

Source: The Bulletin, “Is your surgeon focused on you or his smartphone?,” Markian Hawryluk, Feb. 1, 2015

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