When It Is NOT Smart To Use A Smart Phone


June 4, 2013

A recent study showed that young surgeons have a higher chance of making an error after becoming distracted during a surgery.  The study was collaboration between the industrial engineering and general surgery faculty members at Oregon State University and the Oregon Health and Science University.

Their research showed that over the course of several months, 44 percent of the second-, third- and research-year surgical residents involved in the study made major surgical mistakes when they heard unexpected noises, were involved in conversation or were asked questions during a simulated gall bladder surgery.

The message is clear. When working in the OR, leave your phone in the locker. The lay public would be horrified if they thought their surgeon was wondering about which text or e-mail just arrived on his or her phone mid surgical procedure. I along with a lot of other parents don’t allow my children to have their cell phone handy while doing homework. It is for the very same reason; cell phones are a distraction. Further, there is an electronic trail of every text, e-mail and telephone call made which time and date stamps it. God forbid there is a problem in the OR and plaintiff counsel is able to prove through electronic records that the physician was receiving texts, e-mails or calls during the procedure. All health care facilities, smart phone policy should have an absolute prohibition of smart phones being present in the operating theatre.