Distraction is a serious safety issue in the United States these days. Distracted drivers have become a leading cause of major collisions. Not only do people focus on their handheld devices, but they also often feel like they need to multitask, which results in dangerous internal distraction.
Operating a motor vehicle is far from the only situation in which one person’s actions could have life-or-death implications for someone else. Distraction at work is an increasingly serious issue. Although people in high-stress environments may try to multitask, the human brain isn’t really capable of focusing on multiple issues simultaneously.
For those working in hospitals, especially nurses and others responsible for patient care, distraction could be the source of a medical malpractice issue.
Distraction is a constant threat in a hospital work environment
When a nurse has to administer medication to others or keep mental note of their symptoms until they talk with the doctor, distraction can mean making mistakes or forgetting important information. Unfortunately, although nurses undergo additional education and have to maintain professional licenses, they are no better at multitasking than the average person.
Every interruption during drug administration, for example, increases the risk of a mistake by 12.7%. If a nurse had six interruptions during the process, the risk of a mistake could triple, which is a serious safety concern for the patients under their protection. The more other patients, mobile devices or visitors distract nurses while working, the greater the risk of them making a significant mistake.
Preventable mistakes can lead to medical malpractice claims
When someone in a hospital makes a mistake, either due to internal distraction or oppressive job responsibilities, patients can suffer worse outcomes as a result. Those affected by the distraction of a medical professional may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the facility or sometimes against the professional providing their care.
The nature of the mistake and the extent of its impact on your life will determine the best approach. Recognizing distraction as a potential source of hospital errors could make you a better advocate for yourself in a medical facility and more able to stand up for yourself after enduring a medical mistake.