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Would patient safety improve if surgical procedures were recorded?

Preventable medical errors continue to plague America’s hospitals, with medical mistakes being the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. While some efforts have been made to improve safety, difficulties in determining the source of errors have posed challenges in making needed changes. While some errors may be more obvious, such as wrong site surgeries or prescription errors, others such as communication errors are more difficult to pinpoint.

One lawmaker has proposed a new law aimed at helping reduce the incidence of operating room errors – video and audio recording of operating room procedures. The law would allow patients to request that procedures be recorded, and that these recordings could then be used to evaluate how the procedure went, and answer questions if a bad outcome occurs. With a video recording, if a patient has a bad outcome, it would be possible to see whether mistakes were made by hospital staff, or if protocol was followed. Where errors occur, the video could be used to educate and train staff to prevent future errors.

While doctors’ associations have come out against videotaping as intrusive, advocates point to the use of cameras as beneficial in improving safety, and would benefit doctors when bad outcomes occur who could point to such footage to show that proper medical procedures were followed.

For more information, or if you or a loved one has been injured by a medical error, we urge you to contact the dedicated Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.



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