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When your doctor’s computer crashes

Earlier this week, as I write this, our office lost a skirmish against technology.

It was my procedure day, where lucky patients file in awaiting the pleasures of scope examinations of their alimentary canals. A few will swallow the scope (under anesthesia), but most will have back-end work done. We are a small private practice equipped with an outstanding staff. We do our best every day to provide them with the close personal attention they deserve.

The first patient of the day is on the table surrounded by the medical team. The nurse anesthetist and I have already briefed the patient on what is about to transpire. Propofol, the finest drug in the universe, is introduced into her circulatory system, and her mind drifts into another galaxy. I pick up the colonoscope, which is locked and loaded for action, and the screen goes dark. Our nurse goes through a few steps of messing around with plugs and doing a quick reboot, but we are still in the dark. I glance at the back of the scope cart and have an eye-popping moment when I see dozens of wires and connectors coursing off the cart in a collage of chaos.

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