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Texting, phone calls and virtual meetings from the operating room: What not to do

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2021 | Medical Malpractice Defense |

A California plastic surgeon made national headlines recently after he appeared at a virtual meeting in court to answer a traffic charge, giving what may be one of the clearest examples ever of the problems that modern technology can cause with patient care.

There was only one slight problem. He was in the middle of operating on a patient at the time.

A doctor in scrubs, a patient on the table and a traffic ticket

The shocked judge couldn’t get out of the call fast enough, saying, “So unless I’m mistaken, I’m seeing a defendant that’s in the middle of an operating room appearing to be actively engaged in providing services to a patient. Is that correct?”

The surgeon assured the judge that he was ready to handle the court case because another surgeon was present to take over the operation. The judge wisely declined — and the surgeon is now under investigation.

Cellular phones in the operating room are a growing liability

It’s widely acknowledged that modern technology is a boon to patient care — but it can also be a distraction. Hospitals are increasingly addressing the fact that some rules need to be put in place when it comes to their use in the operating theater.

There have even been reports of doctors who have sneaked a peek at text messages or social media during operations. It cannot be stressed enough that surgeons who do these kinds of things are exposing themselves and the facilities that employ them to unnecessary legal liabilities.

Should anything go wrong in surgery, you can bet those phone records will be displayed very prominently in court later. Be proactive about your medical license and your legal liabilities by putting your phone out of the way during surgery.

If you’ve made a mistake, get legal help immediately

If you’ve been accused of medical malpractice due to cell phone use during your treatment of a patient either within the surgical arena or elsewhere, don’t try to explain — even if you were looking at a patient’s record or accessing vital information you needed. Speak with an attorney who can mount an aggressive defense on your behalf and protect your future.

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