Cameras in operating rooms could improve patient safety

An increased amount of individuals are advocating for the widespread use of cameras in operating rooms to combat the estimated 400,000 people a year in the United States who die because of preventable medical errors, according to The Washington Post.

In 2005, the American Medical Association passed a filming policy, which encouraged the practice for educational purposes and only filmed patients who gave consent.

But Teodor P. Grantcharov, MD, a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto, has taken the idea one step further. He built a "black box" for operating rooms, which synchronizes patients' physical data with audio and video recordings of an operation. Dr. Grantcharov has prepared for two U.S. hospitals to participate in the first testing of the system.

Some states are taking matters into their own hands: a bill known as the "Julie Ayer Rubenzer Law" would require cameras in every Wisconsin operating room. The new bill has been introduced in the state legislature.

However, a similar bill didn't pass in Massachusetts in recent years. Numerous hospitals opposed the bill, which would have required hospitals to allow recording by a licensed videographer at the patient's expense.

While some advocates of operating-room cameras believe the devices will limit damages in malpractice court cases, others echo the opinion of Massachusetts hospitals. Bruce A. Cranner, a medical malpractice defense lawyer, believes the cameras may do more harm than good. "Healthcare providers have a justified right to be able to talk among themselves about a patient without fear that [they are] going to be second-guessed or overheard," he said.

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