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Can patients obtain compensation for distracted doctor errors?

Californians know that distracted driving can lead to major car accidents and serious injuries. A person who is distracted does not have his or her full attention on the task at hand, and for a complex task like driving, which can mean catastrophic consequences. What Californians may not realize is that distraction can have a significant impact on their healthcare as well. Distracted doctors are a major problem, leading to surgical errors and serious injuries for many California patients.

Frighteningly, distractions in the form of Internet surfing as well as texting are making their way into the operating room. Negligent operating room staff members are spending time making personal phone calls, online shopping or updating social media sites when they should have their full attention on patients’ needs. 

In one case, a distracted neurosurgeon made ten personal phone calls during an operation. The patient was left partly paralyzed as a result. One study of heart-monitor technicians reveals a dangerous level of distraction during surgery, with 50 percent of technicians surveyed admitting to texting during surgery, and 55 percent admitting to having made calls on their cell phones during surgery.

Careless surgeons or staff are prime targets for medical malpractice lawsuits. Failing to follow the required standard of care, one which involves providing proper supervision for a patient, may constitute medical negligence. Furthermore, an employing hospital may also be legally liable for a distracted doctor’s negligence. Patients may be eligible for compensation due to the mistakes a doctor made while distracted.

Distractions are dangerous whether on the road or in the operating room. If you have been the victim of a surgical error due to a distracted doctor, you may have a legal cause of action. A medical malpractice claim could help a harmed patient recover the losses and damages suffered by the negligence of a medical professional.

Source: FindLaw, “Distracted Doctors Linked to Medical Errors,” Andrew Chow, accessed May 13, 2016

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