Distracted medical providers is a new legal minefield. All medical providers — doctors, nurses, PAs, NPs, CRNAs, technicians — can be held negligent if they pay more attention to their electronic devices than their patients. Mobile technology can he helpful to assist in a diagnosis or a drug dose. They give medical providers immediate access to helpful medical information. However, medical providers can also surf the net for personal reasons, from sports scores to social media. Plaintiff attorneys are starting to request phone and internet records of medical providers to try and argue the medial providers were distracted from patient care by using their electronic devices for something other than patient care. Recently a neurosurgeon from Denver was the target of a malpractice suit stemming from multiple phone calls — both business and personal — he took via a wireless headset while performing a procedure. The patient was left paralyzed after surgery — allegedly because the surgeon was distracted. You may want to consider implementing or updating your policy on use of electronic medical devices at work. Obviously they can help in caring for patients, but they can also harmful in caring for patients.
Richard G. Tisinger, Jr.