Can a “Surgical Black Box” Prevent Medical Malpractice?

October 27, 2015 | Crandall & Pera Law
Can a “Surgical Black Box” Prevent Medical Malpractice?

A veteran of Operation Desert Storm has an idea that could reduce the impact of medical malpractice on its victims. Veteran Wade Ayer lost his sister in 2003 to medical malpractice, and has taken up the cause of medical malpractice victims everywhere. He proposed an idea to Wisconsin State Rep. Christine Sinicki, who authored Assembly Bill 255, variously known as the “Julie Ayer Rubenzer Law” or the “Surgical Black Box Bill.”

The idea is simple. According to The Hill, the Surgical Black Box Bill would give “the patient consumer the right to choose to have their surgery recorded by audio and video. All data can be used in a court of law.  It is designed for disciplinary boards to review and weed out bad doctors. It is also to protect whistleblowers and good doctors.”

Ayer has faced many obstacles to his idea, not least of which is a lack of response from several senators and representatives. He, and we, believe that this bill and the resultant conversations need to be addressed.

Can a black box really help?

Surgical malpractice is a large and serious problem. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, “a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or a towel inside a patient’s body after an operation 39 times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week.”

These are preventable problems. A surgical black box would benefit everyone, from surgeons in training to insurers and, most importantly, to patients and victims of medical malpractice. In a technologically advanced society, we can review a football play from nearly any angle; why can’t we do the same when a person’s life is on the line?

Study leader Dr. Marty Makary, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said “There are mistakes in health care that are not preventable. Infection rates will likely never get down to zero even if everyone does everything right... But the events we’ve estimated are totally preventable. This study highlights that we are nowhere near where we should be and there’s a lot of work to be done.”

This bill could change all of that. Until it does, surgical malpractice will continue to be a common and devastating issue. If you are a victim of medical malpractice, our experienced and compassionate medical malpractice attorneys in Ohio and Kentucky can help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Crandall & Pera Law today for a free consultation.