Over the past several years, Americans have heard a lot about the dangers of distracted driving. However, many people don’t realize that distraction can be as big of a threat in the operating room as it is on the road.
A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that distractions in the operating room – like background noise, music or loud conversations – can increase the risk of surgical errors. The study found that these distractions significantly impair surgeons’ ability to understand speech communication.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky. They tested 15 surgeons who had between one and 30 years of experience. The study examined the surgeons’ ability to comprehend speech under a variety of noise conditions. It found that surgeons have a much more difficult time comprehending speech in the presence of background noise. It further found that music in the operating room posed a significant barrier to comprehension when the doctor was completing a surgical task.
This was not the first study to focus on distractions in the operating room. Last year, a study by researchers at Oregon State University found that young surgeons had a much higher chance of committing errors when there were distractions in the operating room. It tested resident surgeons during a simulated gall bladder removal surgery and found that they made mistakes approximately half of the time when they were subjected to distracting noises like a cellphone ringing, a tray being dropped or a heated discussion just outside the operating room. Many of the mistakes were so serious that they could have killed a patient, had the surgeries not been simulated.
Indiana medical malpractice lawsuits
When surgical errors happen, injured patients have a right to hold their caregivers accountable. In these situations, Illinois law allows injured patients to sue for medical malpractice. If the error results in a patient’s death, the patient’s survivors can sue for wrongful death.
However, in order for medical malpractice lawsuits to succeed, it is necessary to prove more than the simple existence of an error. The plaintiff must show that the error was the result of the caregiver’s negligence. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the caregiver failed to adhere to the standard of care that would have been followed by a reasonable medical professional operating under the same or similar circumstances. The plaintiff must also show that his or her injuries were caused by the caregiver’s negligence and not by something else.
Proving these points requires a significant amount of expertise from legal and medical professionals alike. If you have been the victim of a surgical error, talk to an experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorney. The attorney will be able to review the circumstances of your injury to determine whether you have viable case. If so, the attorney will be able to marshal the resources and expert testimony necessary to prove your claim.