Did I hear you correctly? The surgeon who was operating on Joan Rivers for her vocal chords procedure took a selfie as she was under anesthesia?
Let’s step back for a second. Throughout the history of time, the head surgeon was to be the ‘Captain’ of the operating room, setting the tone for the procedure, and setting strict standards of excellence on all fronts: with communication, focus, and cleanliness, in order to provide the best possible care and outcome for the patient.
Over the past couple of years, social media and technology has become a stumbling block in the operating room. From doctor’s texting, taking pictures, or even talking on the phone during surgery, the once orderly standards of medical guidelines have gone by the wayside. Ultimately, this behavior has got to stop.
Just last year, a woman from Los Angeles sued her doctor, when the anesthesiologist drew a mustache on a photo he had taken of her face. Furthermore, another anesthesiologist admitted to texting and reading on his iPad during procedures. Another medical lawsuit stemming from a patient’s death revealed that an anesthesiologist checking his cell phone during surgery was a pretty routine occurrence.
While these occurrences are documented in hospital facilities, these behaviors often go unchecked in outpatient clinics and ambulatory surgical centers. It’s time that patient care standards were raised to take care of the continual problems that arise through the use of cell phones in operating rooms.
To doctors out there, it’s time to focus on the bottom line, which is to deliver incredible service and care to all patients alike, whether they are famous or not, and to put aside all distractions involved with the cell phone, i.e. checking the score of that basketball game, or answering when your wife is calling. When safety and a patient’s life are potentially at risk, then your cell phone can wait!