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Recording Surgeries to Protect Patients

Victor Lewin - Friday, October 11, 2013

A doctor has come up with a creative way to reduce errors during surgery that could impact medical professionals and patients in Nova Scotia and across the nation. By recording and logging everything that happens during the operation via an 'O.R. black box," he thinks thousands of surgical errors that result in hundreds of fatalities in the nation annually will be reduced. The recording device helps medical professionals recognize mistakes and possibly prevent them from happening again. A patient who was the subject of the system during surgery expressed her confidence with the new technology and believes it will benefit doctors and patients alike.

However, opponents fear that personal injury lawyers will use the information in order to target surgeons. Despite negative opinions, the system is now undergoing testing at a medical facility in Toronto. The Toronto physician hopes the equipment becomes a standard during operations and is eventually used globally. He thinks it will change surgical practices for the better. Although he realizes that some medical professionals might feel threatened by the equipment, he insists it will help doctors and surgeons comply with professional standards.

The doctor will present the results of his study at a conference in Washington, D.C., held by the American College of Surgeons in October 2013. A medical facility in Denmark has already decided to study the system and could implement it for use depending on the results. Their chief surgeon expressed his optimism and offered his support. The president of the Canadian Association of General Surgeons also supports the idea and would use the system during operations he performs.

Questions about what actually happened during surgery can lead to medical malpractice lawsuits if negligence is suspected. A personal injury lawyer might be able to help clients determine if they have a viable claim.

Source: National Post, "Toronto doctor develops 'O.R. black box' to catch potentially deadly errors made during surgeries", Tom Blackwell, September 27, 2013

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