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Doctor accused of frequent sexting during surgery

A Washington state anesthesiologist and surgeon is reportedly suspended after allegedly risking patient safety due to his alleged telephonic habits.

Not a place for sexting, surely. MrGozzman/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If there's ever a conflict between work and love, the latter should always take precedence.

I will concede, though, that there might be a couple of gray spots in my firm belief. One of them might include the idea of lives being at stake.

I am, therefore, having to think hard about the accusations that have been laid at Dr. Arthur K. Zilberstein.

As Reuters reports, Zilberstein has been suspended from practicing medicine, after allegations that he didn't concentrate on his job during surgery.

The Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission claims that he "frequently exchanged personal and often sexually explicit text messages" with his lady friend during times when he should have been paying attention to the patient on the operating table.

Zilberstein allegedly sent up to 45 sexually explicit texts a day.

Kelly Stowe, a Washington State Department of Health spokeswoman, told Reuters: "He's supposed to be focusing on the patient during surgery."

This is, of course, incontrovertible. And, given that other charges of allegedly accessing medical records for his own gratification have also been produced, it may well be that Dr. Zilberstein has particular penchants.

However, it's the almost primordial attachment that people now have to their phones that makes interaction with them such a hypnotic necessity.

How hard movie theaters must work to get people to switch off their phones and simply do what they came to the theater to do.

How often do you sit in meetings, restaurants, churches, family dinners and see that no one can offer their full attention to anyone else?

There are those who discreetly keep their phones beneath the level of the table, in the belief that they won't be seen. The light shining up at your face gives it away, people.

There are also those who think it simply normal behavior that your phone should be visible, present and active at all times.

It's a third arm, for some. A first brain for others.

For many, there is no real barrier between self and phone. It isn't so much fear of missing out anymore. It's more "I think, therefore I phone."

How many others in potentially dangerous jobs, or merely potentially dangerous everyday situations, constantly whip out their phones because, well, there really is no 'because," is there?