Posted on Jun 09, 2013

Last month, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suggested that noise in the operating room generally, and music in the operating room more specifically, could cause patients to suffer medical malpractice injuries.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky Lexington, found that music playing at loud decibels can lead to communication miscues and may affect patient safety. Researchers looked at how fifteen different surgeons responded to music at different decibels. They found that surgeons who listened to music played at 74.2 decibels, louder than normal conversation, had a harder time understanding sentences spoken by others. 

The Kentucky researchers stopped short of recommending that music be banned in operating rooms but did recommend that each surgical team and/or hospital consider music and the level at which it is played to prevent surgical team miscommunication from resulting in a medical malpractice injury.

While the study was small, and thus limited, researchers believe that it raises an important issue that should be looked at further. They suggest that a larger study could better identify the issues and possible solutions that could keep patients safe, and possibly alive, in the operating room. 

The University of Kentucky Outpatient Surgical Center now has a hallway decibel monitor to detect noise levels in the facility.

Our Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers extend their best wishes for a fast and complete recovery to anyone who has been injured by a surgical team’s medical malpractice, and we extend our deepest condolences to anyone whose loved one has been killed by surgical medical malpractice.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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