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Cell Phones in Surgery?

This is not about liberal political commentary nor is it about Republicans or Democrats or the need to resist. OK, it is about the need to resist -- resist the idea of surgeons talking on their cell phones while performing surgery.

Ever watch one of those medical shows on TV and the surgeons are chit chatting about everything but the surgery while they are massaging a patient's heart? I thought that was only something that happened on TV. Apparently it's not.

This blog by Skeptical Scalpel, MD in Medpage Today cautions surgeons to avoid talking on their cell phones while working on patients. Dr. Scalpel notes that a vascular surgeon is being sued by a woman who said he was taking a Spanish language proficiency test on his phone while working on her legs. The patient is claiming that she suffers emotionally from that traumatic experience.

"Nothing is more distracting than a cell phone in the operating room," Dr. Scalpel writes. "In a perfect world, we would leave our cell phones in our lockers and sign out to another surgeon to cover us while we are operating. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect. Many times when I was on call, I was the only general surgeon covering two hospitals. I had to have my cell phone in the operating room to field any calls that came in."

However, Dr. Scalpel says he "cannot condone the actions of the surgeon in this case, adding that "Taking a language proficiency test while operating is inappropriate."

Ya think? Inappropriate?

Don't these oh-so-busy and oh-so-important surgeons understand that as patients -- their customers -- we want and deserve their undivided attention? It's our freaking bodies they are working on, and we don't have any to spare! They may be geniuses and magicians who work wonders, but we want them paying attention to what they are doing -- not talking on the phone for whatever reason.

How many times have you seen "Please turn off your cell phones" signs in the doctor's waiting room? Hell, that's harmless compared to them taking calls while performing surgery! I'm scheduled for shoulder surgery in a couple weeks. Gonna have a little talk with my surgeon before that happens!

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