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Social media in the operating room dangerous for patients

Social media has become a part of daily life for most Americans. Connecting with family and friends on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have allowed people to stay in touch and know what's going on in each other's lives. 

Using cellphones and electronic devices to access social media sites and other websites is quite common, but should it be allowed in operating rooms? The logical answer would be no, but it appears that many surgical staff members are logging onto social media sites in the OR, sometimes when they are supposed to be monitoring a patient's condition. 

Several reports and medical malpractice cases across the country have cited staff members using social media sites when a patient is having surgery. This is a scary finding as many patients undergo life-saving surgical procedures that require highly-trained medical staff members during and after the procedure. 

All surgical patients deserve to be treated by doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses and technicians who can safely care for them and prevent any complications or errors. If these medical professionals are on their cellphones or laptops looking at social media sites, they are not paying attention to the patient. Being distracted for even a minute could result in a tragic complication or death for a patient during surgery. 

When patients go to the hospital to have a surgical procedure done, they are expecting the OR staff to be diligent and focused on their care. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case and social media use is part of the reason why.

Surgical patients in Arizona should be aware of the risks in the OR. Surgeons and other staff in the OR need to be focused on the patient, not on their cellphones or laptops. Injuries and complications caused by staff members using social media during the surgical procedure could constitute negligence and lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit against those responsible for the patient's care and safety. 

Source: The Pacific Standard, "Treat, Don't Tweet: The Dangerous Rise of Social Media in the Operating Room," Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, April 16, 2014

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