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Distractions of surgical team can greatly increase medical errors

People go into routine and emergency surgeries everyday across the country. Patients expect their doctors to be in peak mental conditions and ready for complications that could arise. However, because a surgeon's job and the jobs of those that assist in surgeries need to be so precise, any small distraction can result in a very dangerous situation.

A study was recently conducted that found surgeons of all experience levels can become distracted from various operating room noises. Whether it is a phone ringing, music that the team is listening to, or coworkers chatting in the operating room, all of these things can increase the risk that a surgeon will perform an error.

Medical errors during surgeries can result in significant complications and even death. Patients' lives might be on the line, so it is important that surgeons are as free from distraction as possible. According to other studies, surgery errors might also increase during daytime surgeries if the doctor had less than six hours of sleep because of a previous night where they were on call.

These errors are completely avoidable. Patients should have the quality of health care that they expect when they have a surgery. While there are some risks with every surgery, doctors should understand their abilities and make sure themselves and surgical staff limit distractions in the operating room. This can help save lives and hopefully prevent suffering and further injury to a person who has a surgery. Errors could result in a lifetime of pain and expensive medical treatments to correct a problem.

Source: Scripps Howard News Service, "From ringing phones to sleep deprivation: Distractions increase surgeons' potential for mistakes," Lee Bowman, May 16, 2013

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