Distracted Doctors Can Make Serious Medical Mistakes in Maryland

Distracted doctoring is a growing patient safety issue that can jeopardize patient health. While smartphones can undoubtedly offer improved communication and quick data access for medical professionals, these devices can also be a distraction. If you or someone close to you has suffered harm due to distracted doctoring, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our highly skilled Baltimore medical malpractice team can help you navigate these challenging cases.

A doctor engages in “distracted doctoring” when he or she takes attention away from a patient. As doctors use more devices, the potential for distraction grows. In fact, it has become more and more common for medical professionals to be texting, surfing the Internet and even posting on Facebook while busy in surgery. Consider the following. In a 2010 peer-reviewed survey of 439 medical practitioners involved in performing cardiopulmonary bypasses, more than 50 percent admited to using a cellphone during the procedure. Specifically, nearly half acknowledged sending text message and nearly a quarter reported to accessing email while performing the surgery.

In addition to affecting individual efficiency, smartphones can also interfere with highly technical medical equipment. These devices can introduce viruses and bacteria into the space, which can pose infection hazards. To minimize some of these risks, some medical facilities have chosen to limit the use of electronic devices in certain settings.

Doctors who injure patients due to distraction could find themselves facing a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to adhere to the standard of care that a reasonably competent medical professional in the same or similar circumstances would have adhered to. Since every situation is different, the standard of care will vary in every case based on a number of factors, including a patient’s age and medical history.

Establishing liability is difficult enough in malpractice cases but it can be even trickier in distracted doctoring cases. In such cases, the plaintiff would have to prove the following elements: i) the doctor owed the patient a duty of care; ii) the doctor breached the duty of care owed to the patient by diverting attention away from the patient due to a smartphone or some other distraction; and iii) the breach was a direct cause of the patient’s harm.

It is important to note that Maryland law requires a medical doctor to sign off on every medical malpractice claim. In other words, a plaintiff must file a “certificate of a qualified expert” in which a qualified medical expert swears under oath that he or she has reviewed the plaintiff’s case and believes that the defendant doctor breached the accepted standard of care when treating the plaintiff.

Distracted doctoring can lead to serious medical malpractice claims. If you have been injured due to a mistake caused by a doctor being distracted, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our seasoned Baltimore surgical malpractice team is dedicated to getting victims of malpractice the compensation they rightfully deserve for their harm. We are here to answer your questions or address your concerns. For a free case evaluation, call us at 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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