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Recorded surgeries may help protect patients

Ohio residents may be interested in learning about a Wisconsin bill being introduced that may improve accountability during surgery. If passed, the bill would allow patients to ask that their surgeries be recorded. A patient may also be able to sign an advanced directive that would result in all future surgeries being taped automatically. The legislation was proposed in honor of a 38-year-old woman who passed after being given too much propofol during surgery.

Ideally, the ability to record a surgery would provide more data for patients, surgeons and health care providers. It may also reduce the number of surgical errors and hold those accountable for making mistakes when they do occur. However, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Wisconsin Medical Society have been reluctant to support the bill. Doctors are also concerned that such recordings could be used as evidence during legal proceedings.

The increasing push for the use of so-called black box devices in surgical proceedings may reflect the public's desire for more transparency. Although no one intends to make a mistake during surgery, the fact is that errors can cause extreme injury or even death. In some cases, there is no clear indication without watching a video as to what may have caused injury or death to a patient.

Those who may have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice may wish to take legal action. Doing so may allow an injured patient to obtain compensation for medical bills as well as lost wages or future earnings. In some cases, the facility where the error occurred could be held liable in addition to the person who made the error. An attorney might be able to examine the case to decide how an injured patient may proceed.

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