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Technology helps doctors, but also distracts

Doctors have raved about advances in mobile computing technology, saying it helps them on the job. One doctor said he loved using a tablet because it meant he could be right at the patient's bed, doing everything he used to have to do on the desktop computer in his office. It made the process easier and even gave him some new options.

While that's all beneficial, experts have warned that technology can distract doctors, as well. One survey found that half of all medical technicians said they'd texted while doing procedures and 55 percent said they'd used mobile phones in one fashion or another.

When you're in the hospital, you expect a high level of care. You expect doctors not to make mistakes because they're distracted. The problem with phones is that, though the doctor may look at the phone for a good reason initially, things can quickly get derailed.

For instance, one resident was supposed to cancel a blood thinner that a patient was getting. She used her smartphone to start putting the order together. As she was doing it, someone texted her to tell her she was invited to a party. She forgot to complete the order, and the patient nearly passed away.

There are usually upsides and downside to technology, but these seem far more drastic in a medical setting when your very life could be at stake. Has a distracted doctor made an error that harmed you or took a loved one's life? If so, you must know what rights you and your family may have to compensation.

Source: NPR, "Hospitals Warn Smartphones Could Distract Doctors," Jenny Gold, accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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