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Multitasking doctors can make mistakes

Doctors have busy schedules and heavy workloads. They also have to be able to respond to the unexpected, as things happen quickly and lives may depend on them.

This can lead to a fair amount of distraction. One way that doctors try to get through this heavy workload is simply by multitasking. They may try to talk to one patient while thinking about medication for another and using a computer to check medical records for a third.

The problem is that, though people try to do it, they can't multitask. They can just do one thing at a time. To "multitask" they switch from the first activity to the second.

Often, the switch is not as smooth as they want it to be. A doctor who is reading a screen may not actually hear what a patient is saying. A doctor who is thinking about a medication may read a screen or a printed record without really processing what it says.

As you can imagine, this leads to mistakes. Doctors can give out incorrect information, give people the wrong medications or make mistakes during surgery. They may miss key details in conversations that cause a diagnosis to be delayed by crucial weeks, months or years. Sometimes, they don't even know how many mistakes they're making because they're just trying to do too much.

This isn't likely to change any time soon. Doctors are busy, and the demands of technology are only increasing. If this leads to a medical error and you suffer harm as a result, you need to know how to seek financial compensation.

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