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The future of recording operating room surgeries

As some New Mexico residents may know, surgical mistakes are a small but real risk to patients. One lawmaker is saying that patients should be allowed to record their surgical procedures. In addition, a black box similar to the ones used on airplanes and motor vehicles is being developed for use in the operating room. Both the black box and the use of audiovisual recordings are seen as ways to prevent surgical error.

A Wisconsin representative introduced a bill that would permit patients to record surgeries. This legislation, named for a 38-year-old patient who died due to over administration of an anesthetic agent, would let patients choose ahead of time to have their surgeries recorded.

Another bill pending in New York is comparable. In this case, a 19-year-old woman who suffered cardiac arrest died due to anesthesia errors, which were considered to be negligent. This bill requires that all surgeries be recorded by installing cameras in operating rooms.

While much can be learned by documenting errors made during surgical procedures, hospitals and doctors have expressed opposition to the bills. In Wisconsin, both the medical society and the hospital association are against recording surgical procedures. In addition, doctors have expressed opposition to black box devices that can record operations. These health care professionals are apprehensive that such recordings could be used to present information in a malpractice lawsuit.

The use of black box data or videotapes might shed light on surgical error. If an individual suffers harm due a surgical procedure, documentation might help determine negligence. In the event that anesthesia errors occur, an individual might wish to speak with a lawyer. The attorney may review medical and surgical records to establish negligence. In that case, the attorney might help by filing a malpractice lawsuit to recover pecuniary damages.

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