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|Illustration by Michael Hirshon|
The story below the fold is one such story, and it illustrates that there really may be an addiction to modern technology.
From Kaiser Health News (dated July 14, 2015):
Next time you’re on the operating table and you have one last look around as the anesthesiologist approaches, don’t be too sure that that person in scrubs looking at a smartphone is pulling up vital health data. He or she might be texting a friend, or ordering a new carpet.Read the rest HERE.
Cellphone use is not generally restricted in the operating room, but some experts say the time for rules has come. In interviews, many described co-workers’ texting friends and relatives from the surgical suite. Some spoke of colleagues who hide a phone in a drawer and check it when they think no one is watching.
“Sometimes it’s just stuff like shopping online or checking Facebook,” said Dwight Burney, an orthopedic surgeon from Albuquerque. “The problem is that it does lead to distraction.” This can result in medical errors or lax safety procedures, such as forgetting to check a patient’s identity, he said.
In one 2011 incident, a Texas anesthesiologist was accused of sending text messages and e-mails while monitoring a patient. Her oxygen levels dropped, which the anesthesiologist allegedly didn’t notice for close to 20 minutes, and she died in surgery. The woman’s family sued the anesthesiologist. The case was settled before going to trial.
But some doctors, nurses and other O.R. personnel point out that smartphones can provide assistance during care, letting staffers view patient information and lab results on the fly or communicate with colleagues in other parts of the hospital during a surgery.
But it’s hard to know if medical personnel are instead scanning Amazon or Facebook, “unless you’re videotaping or monitoring all persons at any time of the day,” Devireddy said.
It’s the mix of pros and cons that complicates efforts to develop clear-cut guidelines....
Technology is a double-edged sword. For example, my ophthalmic surgeon takes iPhone photos of the subluxed IOL in my left eye so that he can see the position of the IOL if he has to operate so as to lasso that wayward IOL. Surely he would want access to an image of the exact position of my IOL in the operating room. Such is the wonderful and proper use of today's amazing technology.
For many others, however, technology addiction may be a norm exercised with little discretion. Lack of discretion = danger.