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Are Cameras Coming To The Operating Room?

June 28, 2016
Colson Hicks Eidson

Airplanes have them, boats have them and now your local hospital might get them too—we’re talking about black boxes. A group of researchers at Toronto University is trying out a pilot project to bring cameras into the operating room to help improve the performance of doctors. Right now, the project is only being tried in two U.S. hospitals, but new legislation may seek to spread projects just like this all across the country.

Are Cameras Coming To The Operating Room?

In 2003, a young woman living in Florida was undergoing a routine cosmetic surgery when she was put into a coma by a deadly dose of propofol—one of the drugs implicated in Michael Jackson’s death. Several months later she passed, surrounded by family. The doctor in charge of the surgery lost his license to practice medicine in Florida, but he was not criminally charged. To this day, that family still doesn’t know how this routine procedure went wrong; however, this woman’s brother wants to make sure other families don’t have to suffer the way his family has.

What Is The Solution For Suffering Families?

A bill in Wisconsin called the Julie Ayer Rubenzer Law—named after the woman who died—seeks to require a camera in every hospital operating room in Wisconsin. The bill’s backers say that it will be a chance for doctors to review their work in the same way that athletes use video playback. This could help reduce adverse events that many surgical teams don’t even realize happen, and many experts believe it will also improve the performance of medical personnel.

Today, cameras are only used in operating rooms to help train medical students, but soon these devices could reach beyond the classroom. Cameras in operating rooms could help solve many medical mysteries and give peace of mind to the families of thousands of malpractice victims; however, many critics warn that these cameras could violate the privacy of both doctors and patients.

Is it worth the risk? Could having a black box in the surgery arena help protect patients? Will these devices really give victims’ families peace of mind? Could other states adopt similar bills? Keep following our medical malpractice blog to find out.