Distraction opens the door to mistakesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/distraction-and-mistakes/MY02105
- With Mayo Clinic oncologist
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.Edward Creagan, M.D.
"The magic of the electronic village is transforming health information. The mouse and keyboard have extended the stethoscope to the 500 million people now online." — Dr. Edward Creagan
The power of the medium inspires Dr. Edward Creagan as he searches for ways to share Mayo Clinic's vast resources with the general public.
Dr. Creagan, a Newark, N.J., native, is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice medicine and palliative care. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1973 and in 1999 was president of the staff of Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Creagan, a professor of medical oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, was honored in 1995 with the John and Roma Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine Award and in 1992 with the Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award, Mayo's highest recognition. He has been recognized with the American Cancer Society Professorship of Clinical Oncology.
He describes his areas of special interest as "wellness as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual-financial model" and fitness, mind-body connection, aging and burnout.
Dr. Creagan has been an associate medical editor with Mayo Clinic's health information websites and has edited publications and CD-ROMs and reviewed articles.
"We the team of (the website) provide reliable, easy-to-understand health and wellness information so that each of us can have productive, meaningful lives," he says.
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Distraction opens the door to mistakes
By Edward T. Creagan, M.D.
I recently spoke at a major medical meeting. As I was firing up my computer, a number of colleagues came up to talk. When it was time for me to speak, I began my presentation. About halfway through, my computer screen went blank.
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I'd forgotten to plug in my computer. Now this was a minor interruption. I took responsibility, and everything worked out fine.
We know that when we're tired or distracted, we're not at our best. In most circumstances, the resulting mistakes are trivial. We forget where we parked our car. We can't find our keys. But let me share a story with you.
At a major medical center, a patient was receiving care for cancer arising from the left kidney. Tragically, during surgery the patient's healthy right kidney was removed instead of the cancerous left kidney. Devastation for the patient, the family and the medical care team.
How could this have happened? A careful review of the records revealed that some of the individuals involved in the care of this patient had been distracted by beepers and cell phones, which affected their focus and concentration.
Most of us aren't surgeons and don't deal with life-or-death situations, but the lesson is powerful nevertheless.
When we fail to focus, we make mistakes. Knowing that, what can we do to avoid it? How can we conserve our energy? How can we protect our priorities? Please weigh in.blog index