Medical Professionals Sometimes Distracted With Social Media

Social media has proven to be extremely beneficial as a part of modern life. It helps people stay in touch and serves as entertainment for many Connecticut residents. However, several companies ban the use of social media sites during work hours as they feel it could decrease productivity. There are certain industries where being distracted by Facebook could actually cost individuals their lives. For instance, critics point to the increasing prevalence of medical professionals using social media when they are supposed to be treating patients.

A recent case from another state involves an anesthesiologist who is accused of using social media during a woman’s cardiac surgery. Authorities say that the procedure was not particularly risky, but the anesthesiologist failed to take note of the patient’s falling blood-oxygen levels. He attempted to argue that he only lost focus for a few minutes, but attorneys for the woman’s family countered that even that amount of time can allow for significant — and dangerous — changes in a patient’s condition.

It can be difficult to monitor the activities of every healthcare professional on electronic devices. Sometimes they are using them to legitimately treat patients by accessing medical records. There is no question that whatever the reason, they can cause distractions and that can interfere with the proper treatment of a patient, even possibly leading to death.

Most would agree that medical professionals should be focused on their patients and not on Twitter. If a patient here in Connecticut has been harmed by the social media distraction of a healthcare provider, he or she may decide to file a medical malpractice claim. A successful claim could mean monetary restitution that could be used for outstanding medical bills, future treatment or other costs that could result from such a situation. It also serves as another form of holding medical professionals accountable in the hopes of preventing further harm from being done to other patients.

Source: psmag.com, “The Dangerous Rise of Social Media in the Operating Room“, Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, April 16, 2014