Mistakes in the operating room can be disastrous. Performing a surgical operation on the wrong site, for instance, can leave a person permanently disabled and can bring about high, unneeded costs. One thing that often leads to mistakes, experts have found, is that medical workers are simply distracted.
To test it, surgery residents were put through simulations -- to avoid harming real patients -- and told to carry out various procedures as they would in a real operating room. They did 36 total operations. In half of the cases -- 18 simulations -- they were interrupted and distracted while they were working. In the other 18, they were allowed to carry on without these distractions.
As expected, they made far more mistakes when they were distracted, with eight total recorded. That means mistakes were found in almost half of the procedures, and that number was eight times as high as the lone mistake made in the 18 operations without these distractions.
There were also issues with "key memory tasks." In the operations without distraction, just 22 percent of the residents forgot one. When they were being distracted, that number jumped to more than 50 percent, more than doubling.
While these were just simulations, they paint a very clear picture of the role distractions can play in an operating room and help show why very avoidable mistakes are made so often. If you have been victimized by one of these mistakes, it's critical to know your rights to compensation. This is especially true if the surgical error will leave you disabled, without the ability to work and in need of life-long care.
Source: Med Page Today, "Distractions in OR Make Errors More Likely," Charles Bankhead, accessed Nov. 11, 2016