Doctors behaving badly online

And here we go again. Yet another warning to doctors who decide they really must wade into social media. This warning is for those doctors who have learned nothing from the cautionary tale of 48-year old E.R. physician Dr. Alexandra Thran. She learned a hard lesson last year about the consequences of behaving badly online after she was fired from her Rhode Island hospital, fined and reprimanded by the state medical board.

Why? Dr. Thran had posted personal information online about one of her trauma patients. Although her Facebook post did not specifically include the patient’s name, she violated the patient’s privacy rights by writing enough that others in the community could easily identify the patient, according to a board filing.  Continue reading

“Distracted Doctoring” – updating your Facebook status in the O.R.

Do you know what your O.R. team is up to while you’re lying there out cold during surgery? The New York Times has taken a revealing peek at the impact of electronic devices like smartphones on modern medical care – and it’s not a pretty picture.

The troubling issue is that your doctors, nurses and techs can be focused on the screen and not the patient, even during moments of critical care.  This includes the neurosurgeon making personal calls during an operation, a nurse checking airfares in the O.R., and a frightening poll showing that half of technicians running bypass machines during open heart surgery had admitted texting while working on a cardiac procedure Continue reading

Why you should put that damned phone away

In the wise words of comedian Amy Poehler as she addressed young graduating Harvard University students last May:

“The answer to a lot of your life questions is often in someone else’s face.  Try putting your iPhones down every once in a while and look at people’s faces.”

I have a cellphone. Of course I do.  But at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy  – oops, too late! – the great technological divide between how my demographic uses our mobile devices and how people of my children’s generation do has me feeling cranky these days. Continue reading